Susan Banks, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biology
“Wow, that is so cool!” "I want to share my excitement about science with students. Biology is best learned through doing and I try to develop opportunities for students to get as much hands-on experience as possible in the classroom or in the research lab. The knowledge, enthusiasm, and skill set that students build in the biology program at Florida Southern College is important no matter which path they choose after earning their undergraduate degree.”
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
The University of Texas at Austin
• Graduate School, Professional Development Award (Spring 2010 and 2012)
• Bennett Graduate Summer Fellowship (2010 and 2011)
• School of Biological Sciences Teaching Award, Honorable Mention (2008, 2009, nominated 2010)
• Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology Spring Travel Award (2006, 2010)
The University of Kansas
• Kansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (K-INBRE) Scholarship (2002)
Publications and Exhibitions
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.