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Alexander Banks MD PhD

Our group aims to understand the mechanisms contributing to the high rates of metabolic disorders in the population.Towards this goal we study the physiologic mechanisms driving energy balance, including modulation of food intake and energy expenditure. To investigate mechanisms affecting body weight, I serve as the Director of the Energy Balance core facility at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) at Harvard Medical School. We employ a variety of methods—including indirect calorimetry—to measure and analyze whole body metabolic rates. In mice, energy expenditure is commonly measured by indirect calorimetry to monitor oxygen consumption, carbon dioxide production, body temperature and physical activity. These efforts support our laboratory’s work as well as work of many members of the Harvard/Boston-area scientific community. My group has developed novel software and methods to help standardize the approach to quantifying metabolic rate and metabolism in laboratory animals. These tools are provided freely for the scientific community on a hosted website to ensure maximal usability to the widest possible audience. We continue to refine these and create new methods and tools. Our ultimate goal is to apply our knowledge to increase the utility of animal and human research toward countering obesity.