Keith Hengen is interested in understanding how computation emerges from biological systems. His laboratory uses a combination of cutting-edge systems neuroscience tools, theory, and molecular manipulations to shed light on why we sleep, how our brains support rich and diverse functions, and how disease impacts information moving through networks of neurons.
If the brain is a biological computer, our goal is to understand the OS. How do millions and billions of neurons generate robust cognition and behavior? Why do our brains need sleep to achieve robust computation? And can we use disease to shine a light on what's necessary for biological computation?
To address these questions, we record from thousands of neurons spread across the brains of freely behaving animals. We use theory and modeling to approach our data, and develop machine learning tools to find meaningful structure in complexity.