Skip to main content

Keith Hengen, Ph.D.

Washington University in St. Louis


Keith Hengen has been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at Washington University in St. Louis since 2017. His lab concentrates on how neural networks generate robust computation and dynamics. In other words, how do the same neurons participate in complex networks to produce natural behaviors and brain states over meaningful periods of time; months to years? Keith received his B.A. in Biological Psychology from Bates College, and his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His doctoral work explored the neurophysiology and GABA-A receptor dynamics of respiratory nuclei in hibernating ground squirrels. Keith did his postdoctoral work with Gina Turrigiano at Brandeis University where he developed methods to record single neurons in freely behaving animals for extended periods; he revealed that neuronal activity in vivo is actively stabilized around a set-point and that brain states gate this form of plasticity.