Matthew I. Banks

Position title: Professor, Department of Anesthesiology


Phone: (608) 261-1143

Research Interests - Neural Correlates of Altered States of Consciousness

Matthew Banks


  • Ph.D. University of Wisconsin- Madison

Lab Website

Banks Laboratory

Research Description

Research in my lab centers on how changes in brain activity and connectivity result in changes in consciousness. We study this question in human subjects and rodent models using behavioral assays as well as imaging and electrophysiological measurements focused primarily in neocortex and thalamus. Our areas of interest include mechanisms of loss and recovery of consciousness under anesthesia, the overlap of these mechanisms with changes in arousal during natural sleep, the link between inflammation and brain function during delirium, and the mechanisms whereby psychedelics ameliorate psychiatric disorders (depression, substance use disorder).

· Anesthesia and sleep. Despite being in widespread use since the mid-19th century and administered to 20 million patients annually in the US alone, how anesthetics cause loss of consciousness remains one of the great open problems in biomedical science. We have shown that anesthetics do not just turn the brain off, nor are changes in information content of brain activity related simply to changes in arousal state. Rather, anesthetics disrupt the integrative processes of the brain through a complex set of molecular, cellular, circuit and global effects. We use rodent models (in vivo and brain slice preparations; patch clamp and multi-channel electrophysiological recordings; calcium imaging) as well as human subjects (intracranial electrophysiological recordings from neurosurgical patients; structural and functional MRI; computational models) to explore the effect of anesthetic agents on signal processing (auditory, visual) and connectivity (single cell; network) and relate those effects to changes in arousal. In addition, we investigate how these changes under anesthesia overlap with those observed during natural sleep in an effort to identify the neural correlates of loss and recovery of consciousness.

· Delirium. Delirium is an acute disorder of consciousness involving reduced attention, disorganized thinking, and fluctuating arousal levels that often affects sick elderly patients and especially those undergoing high risk surgeries. It is a condition that is associated with substantially increased mortality, prolonged hospital stays, and long-term cognitive deficits, but is bereft of therapeutic interventions. We know that inflammation is the predominant acute cause of delirium, but how inflammation induces such a drastic shift in cognition remains unclear. We study this question in a mouse model (electrophysiological recordings, protein assays), in which injection of lipopolysaccharide induces the key electrophysiological signatures of delirium (increased slow wave activity even during wakefulness, altered cortico-cortical connectivity) in order to identify the signaling pathways linking inflammation to changes in brain function.

· Psychedelics. Major depressive disorder and substance use disorder are widespread and are associated with a tremendous cost in terms of family disruption, lost productivity and medical care. Even when current treatment options are applied, these disorders often progress, reflecting the inadequacy of currently available medications for many patients. Classical psychedelics such as psilocybin have shown remarkable promise in ameliorating these seemingly disparate disorders, prompting a surge of interest in their mechanisms of action in both the healthy brain and in patients. We are investigating these questions in mouse models of depression (behavior, electrophysiology) and in human subjects (behavior, functional MRI, EEG).


Please see NCBI for most recent publications

  • Banks MI, Pearce RA (2000) Kinetic differences between synaptic and extrasynaptic GABAA receptors in CA1 pyramidal cells.  Journal of Neuroscience, 20:937-948.
  • Banks MI, White JA, Pearce RA (2000) Interactions between distinct GABAA­ circuits in hippocampus.  Neuron, 25:449-457.
  • White JA, Banks MI, Kopell N, Pearce RA (2000) Networks of interneurons with fast and slow GABAA kinetics provide substrate for mixed gamma-theta rhythm. Proc Nat Acad Sci, 97:8128-8133.
  • Merriam EB, Netoff TI, Banks MI (2005) Bistable network behavior of layer I interneurons in auditory cortex. J Neuroscience, 25:6175-6186.
  • Burlingame RH, Shrestha S, Rummel MR, Banks MI (2007) Sub-hypnotic doses of isoflurane impair auditory discrimination in rats.  Anesthesiology, 106:754-762.
  • Banks MI, Uhlrich DJ, Smith PH, Krause BM, Manning KA (2011) Descending projections from extrastriate visual cortex modulate responses of cells in primary auditory cortex. Cerebral Cortex, 21: 2620-38. PMC3183425.
  • Krause BM, Banks MI (2013) Analysis of stimulus-related activity in rat auditory cortex using complex spectral coefficients. J Neurophysiol, 110(3):621-39. PMC3742995.
  • Raz A, Grady SM, Krause BM, Uhlrich DJ, Manning KA and Banks MI (2014) Preferential effect of isoflurane on top-down vs. bottom-up pathways in sensory cortex. Front. Syst. Neurosci. 8:191. doi: 10.3389/fnsys.2014.00191 PMC4188029.
  • Krause BM, Raz A, Uhlrich DJ, Smith PH, Banks MI (2014) Spiking in auditory cortex following thalamic stimulation is dominated by cortical network activity. Front Syst Neurosci. 8:170. doi: 10.3389/fnsys.2014.00170. PMC4168681.
  • Nir Y, Vyazovskiy VV, Cirelli C, Banks MI, Tononi G (2015) Auditory Responses and Stimulus-Specific Adaptation in Rat Auditory Cortex are Preserved Across NREM and REM Sleep. Cereb Cortex 25(5):1362-78; PubMed PMID: 24323498; PMC4415088.
  • Hentschke H, Raz A, Krause BM, Murphy CA, Banks MI (2017) Disruption of cortical network activity by the general anaesthetic isoflurane. British Journal of Anaesthesia, 119(4):685–696, doi: 10.1093/bja/aex199. PMID: 29121295. PMCID: PMC6172964.
  • Krause BM, Murphy CA, Uhlrich DJ, Banks MI (2017) PV+ cells enhance temporal population codes but not stimulus-related timing in auditory cortex. Cereb Cortex. 2017 Dec 28. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhx345. PMID: 29300837. PMCID: PMC6319178.
  • Banks MI, Moran NS, Grady SM, Uhlrich DJ, Manning KA (2018) Altered stimulus representation in auditory cortex is not causal for loss of consciousness under anesthesia. Br J Anaesthesia 121(3):605-615, doi: 10.1016/j.bja.2018.05.054. PMID: 30115259. PMCID: PMC6617964.
  • Sanders RD, Banks MI, Darracq M, Moran R, Sleigh J, Gosseries O, Bonhomme V, Brichant JF, Rosanova M, Raz A, Tononi G, Massimini M, Laureys S, Boly M (2018) Propofol-induced unresponsiveness is associated with impaired feedforward connectivity in the cortical hierarchy. Br J Anaesthesia 121(5):1084-1096, doi: PMCID: PMC6208295.
  • Nourski KV, Steinschneider M, Rhone AE, Kawasaki H, Howard MA 3rd, Banks MI (2018) Processing of auditory novelty across the cortical hierarchy: An intracranial electrophysiology study. Neuroimage 183:412-424, doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.08.027. PMID: 30114466. PMCID: PMC6207077.
  • Nourski KV, Steinschneider M, Rhone AE, Kawasaki H, Howard MA 3rd, Banks MI (2018) Auditory predictive coding across awareness states under anesthesia: An intracranial electrophysiology study. J Neurosci 38(39):8441-8452. PMCID: PMC6158689.
  • Voss LJ, Garcia PS, Hentschke H, Banks MI (2019) Understanding the effects of general anesthetics on cortical network activity using ex vivo preparations. Anesthesiology. 2019 Jun;130(6):1049-1063. doi: 10.1097/ALN.0000000000002554. PubMed PMID: 30694851; PMCID: PMC6520142.
  • Murphy CA, Krause BM, Banks MI (2019) Selective effects of isoflurane on cortico-cortical feedback afferent responses in murine non-primary neocortex. Br J Anaesthesia.  Oct;123(4):488-496. doi: 10.1016/j.bja.2019.06.018. Epub 2019 Aug 2. PubMed PMID: PMID: 31383363. PMCID: PMC6871270.
  • Banks MI, Krause BM, Endemann CM, Campbell DI, Kovach CK, Dyken ME, Kawasaki H, Nourski KV. (2020) Cortical functional connectivity indexes arousal state during sleep and anesthesia. Neuroimage. 2020 Feb 8;211:116627. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.116627. PubMed PMID: 32045640; PMCID: PMC7117963.
  • Tanabe S, Mohanty R, Lindroth H, Casey C, Ballweg T, Farahbakhsh Z, Krause B, Prabhakaran V, Banks MI, Sanders RD (2020) Cohort study into the neural correlates of postoperative delirium: the role of connectivity and slow-wave activity. Br J Anaesth. 2020 Jun 1:S0007-0912(20)30209-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bja.2020.02.027. PMID: 32499013; PMCID: PMC7339874.
  • Nourski KV, Steinschneider M, Rhone AE, Kovach CK, Banks MI, Krause BM, Kawasaki H, Howard MA 3rd. Electrophysiology of the human superior temporal sulcus during speech processing. Cerebral Cortex, 31(2):1131-1148. PMID: 33063098; PMCID: PMC7786351
  • Sultan ZW, Jaeckel ER, Krause BM, Grady SM, Murphy CA, Sanders RD, Banks MI (2020) Electrophysiological signatures of acute systemic lipopolysaccharide: potential implications for delirium science. British Journal of Anaesthesia, in press. [also: bioRxiv 2020.11.25.398388; doi:]