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Farran Briggs, Ph.D.

(Pronouns: she/her/hers)

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Office: (585) 276-3736

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Critical to our comprehension of the brain is an understanding of how neuronal circuits, or the connections between neurons in the brain, underlie perception and behavior. The goals of the laboratory are to understand how neuronal circuits in the early visual system encode and process visual information and how spatial attention modulates these activities. There are two main projects that are currently underway in the laboratory. The first aims at understanding the mechanism by which visual attention modulates the activity of neurons and circuits in the early visual pathways. We have recently shown that attentional modulation of neurons in the primary visual cortex depends critically on the match between the feature selectivity of individual neurons and the features required for successful task completion. We continue to explore the mechanisms of attention at the granular and circuit level in order to develop a more comprehensive understanding of visual attention. The second project in the lab is designed to elucidate the functional role of the corticogeniculate feedback circuit in visual perception. We have shown that corticogeniculate neurons connecting primary visual cortex with the visual thalamus in the feedback direction are morphologically and physiologically diverse. Recently, we utilized an innovative combination of virus-mediated gene delivery and optogenetic techniques to show that corticogeniculate feedback controls the timing and precision of thalamic responses to incoming visual information. Ongoing experiments will further define how corticogeniculate feedback regulates the flow of information about distinct visual features in the environment.



BA | Dartmouth College

PhD | University of California, San Diego


Journal Articles

Shah S, Mancarella M, Hembrook-Short JR, Mock VL, Briggs F. "Attention differentially modulates multiunit activity in the LGN and V1 of macaque monkeys." The Journal of comparative neurology.. 2021 May 5; Epub 2021 May 05.

Murphy AJ, Hasse JM, Briggs F. "Physiological characterization of a rare subpopulation of doublet-spiking neurons in the ferret lateral geniculate nucleus." Journal of neurophysiology.. 2020 Jul 15; Epub 2020 Jul 15.

Murphy AJ, Shaw L, Hasse JM, Goris RLT, Briggs F. "Optogenetic activation of corticogeniculate feedback stabilizes response gain and increases information coding in LGN neurons." Journal of computational neuroscience.. 2020 Jul 6; Epub 2020 Jul 06.

Books & Chapters

Chapter Title: Mammalian visual system organization
Book Title: The Oxford Encyclopedia of Neuroscience
Author List: Farran Briggs
Edited By: W.M. Usrey and S.M. Sherman
Published By: Oxford University Press 2017 in Oxford

Chapter Title: Functional properties of cortical feedback to the primate lateral geniculate nucleus
Book Title: The New Visual Neurosciences
Author List: Farran Briggs and W. Martin Usrey
Published By: MIT Press 2014 in Cambridge

Chapter Title: Visual system structure
Book Title: Encyclopedia of Perception
Author List: Farran Briggs and W. Martin Usrey
Edited By: B. Goldstein
Published By: Sage Press 2008