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Farran Briggs, PhD

Assistant Professor of Molecular and Systems Biology

Molecular and Systems Biology

2003 Ph.D. Biology, University of California, San Diego, San Diego, CA (Edward M. Callaway, mentor)

1997 B.A. Biology (Cum Laude, Honors), Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH

Neuroscience Center at Dartmouth
Program in Experimental and Molecular Medicine

Contact Information:

Borwell 740E
Physiology and Neurobiology
HB 7700
Lebanon NH 03756

Office: (603) 650-8337
Phone: (603) 653-0645
Email: farran.briggs@dartmouth.edu

Professional Interests:

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.

Critical to our comprehension of the brain is an understanding of how cortical circuits, or the local connections between neurons in the brain, underlie perception and behavior. Elucidating the connectivity map in terms of these neural circuits, akin to the basic building blocks of the brain, will aid our understanding of diseases such as Alzheimer's, Autism, and ADHD, all of which are characterized by faulty neuronal circuitry. Current laboratory projects are aimed at examining the role of attention in shaping the responses of neurons in the visual cortex. Specifically, we are exploring the synaptic, cellular, and network mechanisms of attentional modulation of visual cortical neurons, including the differential ways in which attention modulates the activity of neurons participating in different cortical circuits. These experiments employ multi-electrode recordings in different brain structures including the visual thalamus and primary visual cortex. One of the longer-term goals of this line of research is to build an animal model of attention-deficit that can provide insight into the causes of conditions such as Autism and ADHD.

Rotations and Thesis Projects:

The Briggs lab is currently not accepting new students, however student rotations may still be possible for select students. Please contact the lab for more information on student rotation projects.

Dr. Briggs is accepting rotation students in the fall, winter and spring terms and is available as a thesis mentor for 2016-17.

Grant Information:

NIH NEI R00 EY018683 "Effects of spatial attention on neuronal circuits in the early visual system" PI: Briggs

Whitehall Foundation Research Grant "Role of the corticogeniculate circuit in vision: PI: Briggs

Courses Taught:

CSHL Summer Vision Course Co-Director
UCSB Summer Attention Course Instructor
Medical Physiology
PEMM Courses: Advanced Biomedical Physiology, Advanced Neuroscience


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. In 2011, Dr. Briggs joined the faculty in the Physiology and Neurobiology Department of the Geisel School of Medicine as an Assistant Professor.

Mentoring Information:

Mentored awards:
NEI NRSA EY023165 (Jacqueline Short, Ph.D.)

Neukom Scholar Award (Shiyuan Liu, Dartmouth 2014)
Presidential Scholar Award (Katherine Bach, 2016)

Selected Publications:


  • Briggs F, Callaway EM Layer-specific input to distinct cell types in layer 6 of monkey primary visual cortex. J Neurosci. 2001 May 15;21(10):3600-8. (view details on MedLine)

  • Briggs F, Usrey WM Temporal properties of feedforward and feedback pathways between the thalamus and visual cortex in the ferret. Thalamus Relat Syst. 2005 Jun;3(2):133-139. (view details on MedLine)

  • Briggs F, Callaway EM Laminar patterns of local excitatory input to layer 5 neurons in macaque primary visual cortex. Cereb Cortex. 2005 May;15(5):479-88. (view details on MedLine)

  • Briggs F, Usrey WM A fast, reciprocal pathway between the lateral geniculate nucleus and visual cortex in the macaque monkey. J Neurosci. 2007 May 16;27(20):5431-6. (view details on MedLine)

  • Briggs F, Usrey WM Cortical activity influences geniculocortical spike efficacy in the macaque monkey. Front Integr Neurosci. 2007;1:3 (view details on MedLine)

  • Briggs F, Usrey WM Parallel processing in the corticogeniculate pathway of the macaque monkey. Neuron. 2009 Apr 16;62(1):135-46 (view details on MedLine)

  • Briggs F, Usrey WM Modulation of gamma-band activity across local cortical circuits. Front Integr Neurosci. 2009;3:15. (view details on MedLine)

  • Briggs F, Usrey WM Distinct mechanisms for size tuning in primate visual cortex. J Neurosci. 2011 Aug 31;31(35):12644-9. (view details on MedLine)

  • Briggs F, Mangun GR, Usrey WM Attention enhances synaptic efficacy and signal-to-noise in neural circuits. Nature 2013;499:476-480 (view details on MedLine)

  • Bastos A, Briggs F, Mangun GR, Usrey WM Simultaneous recordings from the primary visual cortex and lateral geniculate nucleus reveal rhythmic interactions and a cortical source for gamma-band oscillations. J Neurosci. 2014;34(22):7639-7644 (view details on MedLine)