Keith Hengen, PhD

Dr. Hengen obtained a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the laboratory of Dr. Mary Behan. His graduate work focused on brainstem plasticity in obligatory hibernators and pregnant mammals. These studies demonstrated conserved mechanisms by which cardiorespiratory circuits may maintain output during extreme circumstances. For his postdoctoral work, Dr. Hengen joined the laboratory of Dr. Gina Turrigiano at Brandeis University where he measured core principles of homeostatic plasticity in cortical neurons in freely behaving animals. These studies demonstrated that individual neurons exhibit firing rate homeostasis, and that this plasticity is gated by sleep and wake. In 2017, Dr. Hengen opened his own laboratory in the Department of Biology at Washington University in Saint Louis. The Hengen Laboratory engages with diverse questions and methods to understand the core principles by which networks of neurons may give rise to complex yet reliable computation. Through this lens, the Hengen Laboratory is interested in neurodegenerative disease as a powerful means by which to relate functional degradation to underlying shifts in computational dynamics.