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Guest Speakers

Faculty Speaker

Photo of Farran Briggs

Farran Briggs, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Neuroscience
"Neuronal and circuit mechanisms of visual attention"

After graduating from Dartmouth College in 1997 with a B.A. in Biology, Dr. Briggs attended graduate school at the University of California, San Diego where she studied local cortical circuitry with Dr. Ed Callaway at the Salk Institute. She received her Ph.D. in Biology from UCSD in 2003. Dr. Briggs conducted her post-doctoral research at the University of California, Davis where she studied visual systems neurophysiology with Drs. Marty Usrey, Barbara Chapman, and Ron Mangun. From 2011 to 2017, Dr. Briggs was an Assistant Professor in the Physiology & Neurobiology department at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. In 2017, Dr. Briggs moved her lab to the University of Rochester, joining the Neuroscience and Brain and Cognitive Sciences departments. Dr. Briggs’ research is aimed at understanding how neuronal circuits in the early visual system encode and process visual information and how spatial attention modulates these activities.

Postdoctoral Fellow Speaker

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Kevin A. Mazurek, PhD
Schieber Lab
Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Neuroscience
"Injecting instructions into premotor cortex using microstimulation"

Dr. Kevin A. Mazurek received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Brown University in 2008 and his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 2013. During his Ph.D., Kevin received an NIH NINDS F31 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Predoctoral Fellowship to develop prosthetic systems for electrically stimulating the spinal cord to restore walking. Upon receiving his Ph.D., Dr. Mazurek joined the laboratory of Professor Marc Schieber as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Rochester in the Department of Neurology to study the cortical mechanisms controlling hand and finger movements. Kevin received the Center for Visual Science T32 Postdoctoral Fellowship and then received an NIH NINDS F32 NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship to study how intracortical microstimulation can be used to deliver instructional information in different cortical areas (the focus of this talk). Dr. Mazurek has received the Clinical & Translational Science Institute (CTSI) KL2 award from the University of Rochester which will begin this summer. For his KL2 project, Kevin will analyze changes in neural communication as human participants perform the same movements using different instructions. Identifying the nature in which different neurologic diseases affect cortical communication could lead to targets for rehabilitative treatment. Dr. Mazurek's career goal is to apply his interdisciplinary training in the fields of neuroscience, biomedical engineering, and electrical engineering towards understanding how brain regions communicate information when performing voluntary movements, and towards developing rehabilitative solutions that can bypass damaged neural pathways and restore function for individuals with neurologic diseases.

Student Speaker

Photo of Jessica Hogestyn

Jessica Hogestyn, MS
Mayer- Pröschel Laboratory
Neuroscience Graduate Program
"Investigating the role of latent human herpesvirus 6 in demyelinating disease"

Jessica Hogestyn received her B.S. in Brain and Cognitive Sciences from the University of Rochester in 2014. She is now a fourth year student in the University of Rochester Neuroscience Graduate Program, conducting her thesis project on the impact of neurotropic herpesviruses on remyelination in the lab of Dr. Margot Mayer-Pröschel. Jessica is also heavily involved in outreach; she is a three-year member of the Brain Awareness Campaign Planning Committee and the co-founder of a graduate student science communication club. Jessica has earned a number of awards in her graduate career, including the Irving L. Spar Award in 2014 and the Edward Peck Curtis Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Graduate Student in 2017.