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Senior lecturer, The Open University

Dr Duncan Banks is a neuroscientist with particular interest in Alzheimer’s disease treatments and methods of slowing the deterioration in cognition with age. His work encompasses fundamental scientific and clinical investigations and their implications for social policy. He is active in the area of public engagement, is a frequent contributor to tabloid and free newspaper articles and has been a consultant to several recent TV and radio programmes including the recent BBC2 TV Series “An hour to save your life”. He has worked with clinicians and is a senior examiner with the Royal College of Surgeons often travelling to lecture in Physiology and to examine trainee surgeons.

Dr Banks has a keen interest in ethics having chaired the Open University’s Human Research Ethics Committee for the past 16 years and been involved in developing university policy in the areas of Freedom of Information, Research Openness, Data Security and Data Retention. He has been a director and foundation trustee of three national charities and in 2013 was awarded a lifetime honorary membership of the British Neuroscience Association for his work in neuroscience.

He has been involved with research ethics to promote "the three Rs" (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement) in the use of animals in research, testing, education and training in Europe particularly with The Boyd Group (research ethics group), The International Brain Research Organization, The European Consensus Platform for Alternatives representative and the UK’s National Centre for the 3Rs (NC3Rs) as a member of their Experimental Design Working Group. He stepped down from membership of the Royal Society of Biology Animal Sciences Group in 2023 after 10 years, has been an advisor to the UK Home Office Animal Procedures Committee Education and Training Sub-Committee (APC ETSC) and the Society for Neuroscience Public Education and Communications Committee (PECC). In 2006 with two others he established the European Coalition for Biomedical Research with the intention of influencing the revision of Directive 86/609 on the protection of animals used for scientific research. He is currently Deputy Chair of the local Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body (AWERB).

Dr Banks’ current research is in the field of trauma and the development of a “Pro-Matrix” advanced cell scaffold biomaterial to support mesenchymeric stem-cell therapy (three years, £110,000, Regenero Ltd., 2016-2019) as well as the use of wearable technology for the elderly and infirm. To date research grants have totalled £608k (MRC, Wellcome Trust, Glaxo SmithKline, ReGen Therapeutics, Regenero, Ltd., Milton Keynes Council, Sir Halley Stewart Trust amongst others). He has edited three medical text books, has written chapters for a further two, has more than twenty multimedia publications and has a total of 83 peer-reviewed publications. He is currently supervising 1 PhD student, has co-supervised 8 PhD students, examined 6 UK-based PhD students, 2 MD students, 17 UK MPhil students and chaired 7 PhD vivas.


  • –present
    Lecturer, The Open University