Alexander Banks, PhD

Dr. Banks directs the Metabolic Core Facility of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and leads a laboratory focused on understanding pathways that will lead to novel therapeutics or interventions for the treatment of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Banks received his undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. His PhD dissertation at Columbia University focused on a novel inhibitor of b-cell insulin receptor and cytokine signaling. After graduation he performed postdoctoral research first at Columbia in Domenico Accili’s lab on regulation of glucose homeostasis. Subsequent postdoctoral training at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Bruce Spiegelman’s Lab featured work on potential novel therapeutics targeting the nuclear hormone receptor PPARgamma to improve insulin sensitization.

At the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Dr. Banks helped to bring together a group of researchers focused on diabetes, obesity and metabolic disorders. Eleven faculty contributed to a successful NIH S10 instrumentation grant to establish a core facility for studying metabolic rate by indirect calorimetry. This apparatus can monitor metabolism in germ-free or gnotobiotic mice. It is also capable of remotely monitoring animals’ core body temperature while changing ambient housing temperature. Other core services include  noninvasive body composition measurement by MRI, infrared thermal imaging and energy content measurement by fecal bomb calorimetry.

Together with Amir Mina, Ray LeClair, Katie LeClair, David Cohen, and Louise Lantier, Dr. Banks’ team has developed novel methods to analyze indirect calorimetry data. This web tool, CalR, can read in raw data files, graph, and perform statistical analyses.