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Richard Thomas Briggs

Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences


Clark Science Center


Richard Briggs’ research interests have focused in part on the mechanisms employed by various blood cells in recognition of material as foreign, or “non-self,” their chemotaxic abilities, their phagocytic response to this recognition and the postphagocytic events underlying bactericidal and digestive functions—all of these as they relate to phylogeny. Although we know a tremendous amount, many key questions remain to be answered about mammalian systems, especially with regard to recognition, signal transduction and oxidative killing mechanisms. And when one thinks about the evolution of this immune response and the evolutionary origins of the vertebrate blood cells, the questions are multiplied manyfold. Essentially nothing is known about the structure or function of comparable (or sometimes totally distinct) cell types in most of the invertebrates.

Additional research interests focus on mechanisms of production of hydrogen peroxide (and other ROI's), as well as its regulation and utilization, in diverse biological systems. This includes the plants, where there are reported roles in growth as well as cell death (apoptosis), responses to injury and hormones, signal transduction, etc. And there is a completely different system found in the bombardier beetles (Brachynus crepitans and allies) that is of extreme interest. These organisms are capable of the synthesis and storage of 30 percent peroxide, which then is mixed with hydroquinones and peroxidase, an oxidative enzyme, in a reaction chamber; this results in a violent reaction, forming a hot and almost explosive defensive discharge.

Selected Publications

Snyder, E., R. Briggs, and M. Marcotrigiano. "Structural Comparison of Pearl Mutation and Wild-type Feathers of Lonchura striata Using a Scanning Electron Microscope." Journal of the National Finch and Softbill Society 24(4): 5–10.

Briggs, R. T., and B. L. Moss. 1996. "The ultrastructure of the coxal gland of the horseshoe crab, Limulus polyphemus: evidence for ultrafiltration and osmoregulation." Journal of Morphology 234: 233–52.

Briggs, R. T., S. P. Scordilis, and J. A. Powell. 1995. "Myofibrillogenesis in rodent skeletal muscle in vitro: two pathways involving thick filament aggregates." Tissue and Cell 27: 91–104.

Briggs, R. T., J. M. Robinson, M. L. Karnovsky, and M. J. Karnovsky. 1986. "Superoxide production by polymorphonuclear leukocytes. A cytochemical approach." Histochemistry 84: 371–78.

Labato, M. A., and R. T. Briggs. 1985. "Cytochemical localization of hydrogen peroxide generating sites in the rat thyroid gland." Tissue and Cell 17: 889–900.


Ph.D., University of Kansas