Terrence Sejnowski

Professor and Laboratory Head

Computational Neurobiology Laboratory

Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator

Francis Crick Chair

Terry Sejnowski
Salk Institute for Biological Studies - Videos


“Princess Leia” brainwaves help sleeping brain store memories

“Princess Leia” brainwaves—dubbed so for their twin hair bun-like shape—are tied to memory and sleep. Researchers at the Salk Institute found that electrical activity forms into rotating waves during these oscillations. This video illustrates five oscillation cycles during which potential measured from the surface of the cortex exhibits stereotyped rotating patterns.

How synapses work

Salk scientists computationally reconstructed brain tissue in the hippocampus to study the sizes of connections (synapses). The larger the synapse, the more likely the neuron will send a signal to a neighboring neuron. The team found that there are actually 26 discrete sizes that can change over a span of a few minutes, meaning that the brain has a far great capacity at storing information than previous thought.

Memory relies on astrocytes, the brain’s lesser-known cells

Salk scientists show that the supportive cells are vital in cognitive function.

When you’re expecting something—like the meal you’ve ordered at a restaurant—or when or when something captures your interest, unique electrical rhythms sweep through your brain. Read more »


BS, Physics, Case Western Reserve University
PhD, Physics, Princeton University
Postdoctoral Fellow, Biology, Princeton; Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School

Awards & Honors

  • 2011 National Academy of Engineering
  • 2010 National Academy of Sciences
  • 2008 National Academy of Medicine
  • 2008 National Research Council of National Academies
  • 2006 American Association Advancement of Science Fellow
  • 2004 Francis Crick Chair funded by the J.W. Kieckhefer Foundation
  • 2003 Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars