Why do we sleep? Researchers propose an answer to this age-old question

Sleep is a fundamental need, just like food or water. “You’ll die without it,” said Keith Hengen, PhD, an assistant professor of biology at Washington University in St. Louis. But what does sleep actually accomplish? For years, the best researchers could say is that sleep reduces sleepiness — hardly a satisfying explanation for a basic requirement […]

Decoding the chaos of cognition

A new deep learning tool from Keith Hengen allows scientists to give neurons a “computational fingerprint,” work that could significantly advance our understanding of the building blocks of thought. The 86 billion neurons of the human brain are involved in constant banter, sending and receiving codes written in strings of electrical impulses. Listening to these […]

Toward a Synergy Between Artificial Intelligence and Neuroscience

The convergence of machine learning and artificial intelligence, and brain sciences is creating a unique opportunity for transformational research into the understanding of how intelligence works. Given recent breakthrough discoveries in all three areas, this is the right time to invest in this area. Within the Incubator for Transdisciplinary Futures, eight faculty from Arts & […]

Hengen awarded $1.8M to study sleep’s contribution to brain function

Sleep is vitally important for brain function and survival. Yet sleep remains one of the most poorly understood features of life. Keith Hengen, assistant professor of biology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, received a three-year $1.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the role of […]

Brain & Behavior Research Foundation awards grants to three researchers

Three Washington University in St. Louis researchers have received Young Investigator Grants from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation. The foundation is committed to alleviating the suffering caused by mental illness by supporting research that will lead to advances and breakthroughs in scientific research. The $70,000 grants help junior investigators launch innovative basic, translational and clinical research […]

Hengen receives McKnight Scholar Award

Keith Hengen, assistant professor of biology in Arts & Sciences, received a McKnight Scholar Award from the McKnight Foundation. The award supports neuroscientists in the early stages of their careers who are focusing on disorders of learning and memory. Read more.

Brain tunes itself to criticality, maximizing information processing

Researchers long wondered how the billions of independent neurons in the brain come together to reliably build a biological machine that easily beats the most advanced computers. All of those tiny interactions appear to be tied to something that guarantees an impressive computational capacity. Over the past 20 years, evidence mounted in support of a […]

Hengen named 2018 Allen Institute Next Generation Leader

From the WashU Newsroom… Keith Hengen, assistant professor of biology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, was selected by the Allen Institute as a 2018 Next Generation Leader. Hengen is one of six early-career neuroscientists who will participate in a special advisory council for the Allen Institute for Brain Science, a […]

WashU Spaces: Keith Hengen

Using cutting-edge technology, big data and caffeine to discover how neurons interact From the WashU Newsroom… Have you ever confused a coffee cup for a pen? Or a mango? Or your Aunt Beatrice? Of course not. Sure, maybe you once poured coffee into your cereal. But that’s because you were distracted or sleepy, not because […]