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Washington University in St. Louis
Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience
Title of talk:
Active self organization in the brain: stable function from neurons to networks
Keith Hengen’s research is focused on the mechanisms and parameters of homeostatic plasticity in the intact brain. While these processes are traditionally investigated as exclusively cellular and molecular phenomena, nothing in the brain works without the capacity to self-organize and maintain stable function across dynamic and variable environments. As a result, Keith aims to understand how cellular mechanisms of dynamic stabilization can give rise to robust emergent properties that are truly the biological underpinnings of cognition and behavior.
As a newly formed group, the Hengen Laboratory is concerned with understanding homeostatic plasticity in normal brains as well as how failures of homeostasis are instrumental in disease. Currently, Keith is investigating the role of sleep and wake in shaping neural dynamics and thereby gating the expression of distinct plasticity mechanisms.