Susan Banks, Ph.D.

About me

Throughout my training, I have had the opportunity to teach students in the classroom and to mentor them on research projects in the lab. My scientific research background is in the areas of cell biology, genetics, biochemistry, and neuroscience. I earned my BA in Biology from The University of Kansas, my PhD in Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology from The University of Texas at Austin, and was a postdoctoral researcher at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA. As an undergraduate and graduate student, my research took advantage of imaging and the powerful genetics of fruit flies to study cell-cell communication. My dissertation was focused on Auxilin, which is involved in endocytosis, and its role in Notch/Delta signaling. As a postdoctoral researcher, I used biochemistry and imaging to study protein-protein interactions at synapses in the sea lamprey. More specifically, I studied how the presence of excess alpha-syn uclein, a protein linked to Parkinson's Disease, results in synaptic defects. I am looking forward to continuing this research with students at Florida Southern.


  • B.A. Biology (with honors), The University of Kansas, Lawrence, 2000-2004
  • Ph.D. Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, 2004-2012
  • Postdoctoral Training, The Eugene Bell Center for Regenerative Biology and Tissue Engineering, The Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA. PI: Jennifer Morgan. Project: Parkinson’s Disease: Utilizing the lamprey, Petromyzon marinus, to identify the mechanism by which excess α-synuclein causes synaptic vesicle trafficking defects, 2012-2016

Honors and Awards

Florida Southern College

  • Marine Biological Laboratory Whitman Research Associate (Summer 2019)
  • Faculty Summer Stipend Award (Summer 2019)
  • Hansen Faculty and Student Collaborative Research Award (Summer 2017, 2018, 2020*)                                                            *cancelled due to SARS-CoV2

The University of Texas at Austin

  • Bennett Graduate Summer Fellowship (2010 and 2011)
  • School of Biological Sciences Teaching Award, Honorable Mention (2008, 2009, nominated 2010)

The University of Kansas

  • Kansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (K-INBRE) Scholarship (2002)

Publications and Exhibitions

Peer Reviewed:

  • Banks SML, Medeiros AT, Sousa R, Lafer EM, Morgan JR. 2021. Chaperone proteins as ameliorators of α-synuclein-induced synaptic pathologies: Insight into Parkinson’s Disease.  Neural Regeneration Research. 16(6): 1198-1199.
  • Banks SML*, Medeiros AT*, McQuillen M, Busch DJ, Ibarraran-Viniegra AS, Sousa R, Lafer EM, Morgan JR. 2020. Hsc70 Ameliorates the Vesicle Recycling Defects Caused by Excess α-Synuclein at Synapses. eNeuro. 7(1): 1-18.
  • Fogerson SM, van Brummen AJ, Busch DJ, Allen SR Roychaudhuri R, Banks SML, Klärner F-G, Schrader T, Bitan G, Morgan JR. 2016. Reducing synuclein accumulation improves neuronal survival after spinal cord injury. Experimental Neurology. Apr; 278: 105-115. PMID: 26854933.
  • Busch DJ, Oliphint PA, Walsh RB, Banks SML, Woods WS, George JM, Morgan JR. 2014. Acute elevation of synuclein protein inhibits synaptic vesicle recycling. Molecular Biology of the Cell. 25:3926-3941. PMID: 25273557.
  • Banks SML*, Cho B*, Eun SH*, Lee J*, Windler S*, Xie X*, Bilder D, Fischer JA. 2011. The functions of Auxilin and Rab11 in Drosophila suggest that the fundamental role of ligand endocytosis in Notch signaling cells is not recycling. PLOS One. 6(3): e18259. PMID: 21448287. *Authors contributed equally to this work.
  • Eun SH, Banks SML, Fischer JA. 2008. Auxilin is essential for Delta signaling. Development. Mar. 135(6): 1089-95. PMID: 18256200.
  • Kracklauer MP, Banks SML, Xie X, Wu Y, Fischer JA. 2007. Drosophila klaroid encodes a SUN domain protein required for Klarsicht localization to the nuclear envelope and nuclear migration in the eye. Fly. Mar-Apr; 1(2): 75-85. PMID: 18820457.


                                                                                                                                        *Authors contributed equally to this work

Other Publications – not peer reviewed:

  • Bayline RJ, Morrison ME, Illig, KR, Martinez-Acosta VG, Becker LA, Favero CB, McFarlane HG, Chase LA, Banks SML, Griffin GD, Robinson S, Rose JK, Tong MT, Basu AC, Chan JP. 2020. Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience (FUN) Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. JUNE. 18(2): E4-E5.
  • Baskolyu S, McLean T, Trepman A, Banks SML, Morgan JR.  Cover Image:  The Journal of Neuroscience. May 2013.  33(18).

Poster Presentations:

  • Mind the Gap: Bridging Siloed Biology and Psychology Learning Communities through Supplementary Interactions. Banks SML, Brandon C, Fowler M.  2020 Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience Summer Virtual Meeting and Workshop; July 2020.
  • Urinary cortisol levels in captive owl monkeys (Aotus nancymaae): does age or sex matter?  Lautermilch S, Hack A, Fleck C, Woerle S, Langford M, Banks SML, Wolovich C.  6th Annual South Florida Primatology Meeting, Ft. Pierce, FL, Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 2020.
  • Characterizing the interaction between α-synuclein, a Parkinson’s Disease Associated Protein, and Annexin A2 in the Presence or Absence of Synaptic Vesicles. Glidden EA*, Cantor AG*, Hendrick SC, SML Banks. The Society for Neuroscience 49th Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, Oct. 19-23, 2020.
  • Characterizing the interaction between Annexin Family Members and α-synuclein, a Parkinson’s Disease Associated Protein.  Hendrick SC*, Glidden EA*, Cantor AG*, Banks SML.  Symposium for Young Neuroscientists and Professors of the South East (SYNAPSE).  High Point University. High Point, NC April 13, 2019.
  • Excess α-synuclein causes synaptic vesicle trafficking defects that are rescued by Hsc70.  Banks SML, Medeiros AT, Wang L, Busch DJ, Ibarraran-Viniegra AS, Roy S, Sousa R, Lafer EM, Morgan JR.  The Society for Neuroscience 47th Annual Meeting, Washington DC November 11-15, 2017
  • α-Synuclein interacts with Hsc70:  a possible mechanism underlying the synaptic vesicle recycling defects in Parkinson’s Disease models.  Banks SML, Busch DJ, Oliphint PA, Walsh RB, George JM, Lafer EM, Morgan JR.  The Society for Neuroscience 45th Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL October 17-21, 2015.

Office information

Location: Berry Citrus 304