Dr Gareth Banks is a neuroscientist and lecturer in Physiology and Pharmacology at the school of science and technology. His research focuses on sleep and circadian rhythms, both upon the genetic and environmental influences upon them, and how they break down in conditions such as aging and psychiatric disease.
Gareth is also an associate of the Dementia Research Institute and is actively involved in the analysis of genes associated with dementia causing conditions such as Alzheimer's disease and Frontotemporal dementia.
Dr Banks studied for both his BSc and DPhil at the University of Sussex. Following his DPhil he took post-doc positions at the Institute of Neurology in University College London and at the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute in the University of Oxford. His research in both of these positions investigated the genetic contributions to conditions such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and intellectual disability and to biological processes such as circadian rhythms and sleep. Following his post-doc positions, Gareth joined the MRC Harwell Institute as a Senior Investigator Scientist. Here he furthered his research in sleep and circadian rhythms including characterising how synaptic proteins can modulate the progression of different sleep stages and how long term disruptive lighting impacts upon behaviour and neuronal connectivity. Following the closure of the MRC Harwell Institute, Gareth joined the Dementia Research Institute as a senior research follow in the animal models platform.
Gareth's primary research interests are into the genetics and regulation of sleep and circadian rhythms. Additionally he is interested in how disruptions to sleep and circadian rhythmicity may impact upon health and wellbeing.
Specifically Gareth is interested in the characterisation of novel genes which regulate different aspects of sleep and circadian rhythms, and how the expression of these genes are altered as a consequence of disease, environmental disruption or aging. Gareth regularly collaborates with groups at the University of Oxford and the Medway School of Pharmacy in such studies.
Additionally Gareth is interested in the characterisation of genes associated with dementia causing conditions such as Alzheimer's disease. His work here focusses on the impact of such genes on the progression of the disease and highlights how such changes manifest in the retina. This work is done in collaboration with the Dementia Research Institute at University College London.
Review editor for Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience.
Regularly reviews papers for journals such as Genes Brains and Behaviour and the Neurobiology of Aging.
Delorme TC, Srikanta SB, Fisk AS, Cloutier M-E, Sato M, et al. 2022 Chronic exposure to dim light at night or irregular lighting conditions impact circadian behaviour, motor coordination and neuronal morphology. Front. Neurosci. 16:855154. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2022.855154
Banks G, Nolan PM, Bourbia N. 2022. Shift work-like patterns effect on female and male mouse behavior. Neurobiol Sleep Circad Rhythms. 13. 100082.
Wilcox AG, Bains RS, Williams D, Joynson E, Vizor L, et al. 2021. Zfhx3-mediated genetic ablation of the SCN abolishes light entrainable circadian activity while sparing food anticipatory activity. iScience. 24(10):103142. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2021.103142.
Hughes S, Edwards JK, Wilcox AG, Pothecary CA, Barnard AR, et al. 2021. ZFHX3 modulates retinal sensitivity and circadian responses to light. FASEB J. doi: 10.1096/fj.202100563R
Banks GT, Guillaumin MCC, Heise I, Lau P, Yin M, et al. 2020. Forward genetics identifies a novel sleep mutant with sleep state inertia and REM sleep deficits. Sci Adv. 6(33)eabb3567
A complete list of Dr Banks' publications can be found on his ORCID profile.