Matthew Banks


School of Medicine and Public Health | Department of Anesthesiology

Dr. Matthew I. Banks received his Bachelor’s and Master’s of Science in Engineering from Johns Hopkins University and his Doctorate of Neuroscience from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Banks is currently Professor of Anesthesiology and Affiliate Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison, WI. Dr. Banks’ research interests 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. Dr. Banks has published over 70 scientific publications and has been funded continuously by the National Institutes of Health since 2003.


Consciousness During Sleep and Anesthesia

Consciousness is stubborn. In fact, most of the time we are sleeping, and at least some of the time we are under anesthesia, we are still conscious. This talk will discuss how we know this, and what the implications are for understanding the mind and reality.

Delirium in Older Patients

Delirium is a devastating condition that affects especially older patients recovering from surgery or infection. The reasons patients become delirious are still unclear, but research is providing a better understanding of triggers and brain changes involved. This talk will review the conditions that lead to delirium, mechanisms for its effects on cognition, and possibilities for treatment.

Psychedelics as Medicines: What is Real, and What is Hype?

Psychedelics such as LSD (“acid”) and psilocybin (“magic mushrooms”) were scorned by the medical community for decades, but recent evidence suggests these drugs can treat some of the most intractable psychiatric disorders. Psychedelics show a lot of promise, but also generate a lot of unfounded hype. This talk will review the history and current research, and discuss implications for improving mental health and understanding the nature of consciousness.