Matthew L. Banks, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Matthew L. Banks, Ph.D.

Department: Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology

Phone: (804) 828-8466


Robert Blackwell Smith Building, Room 760A
410 North 12th Street
Box 980613
Richmond, Virginia 23298


  • Ohio Northern University, Pharm.D., 2003
  • Wake Forest University, Ph.D., 2007

Research interests

  • Medications development for opioid and psychostimulant addiction
  • Use of choice procedures in preclinical models of drug abuse
  • Neurobehavioral pharmacology

The overall theme of my research centers on understanding the neurobehavioral mechanisms of drug choice over other competing non-drug reinforcers. Our working hypothesis is that an effective treatment strategy, both pharmacological and behavioral, should facilitate reallocation of behavior away from drug choice toward choice of competing, alternative reinforcers. Ultimately the goal of our preclinical studies is to translate our results in developing efficacious clinical treatment strategies for drug addiction.

Selected publications

For a complete list of publications listed in PubMed

Reviews/Perspectives: (*denotes graduate student, postdoctoral fellow, technician as author)
Banks ML, Townsend EA*, Negus SS (2019) Testing the 10 most wanted: a preclinical algorithm to screen candidate opioid use disorder medications. Neuropsychopharmacology 44:1011-1012. doi: 10.1038/s41386-019-0336-5. PMID:30739125. PMC6462013.

Diester CM*, Banks ML, Neigh GN, Negus SS (2019) Experimental design and analysis for consideration of sex as a biological variable. Neuropsychopharmacology, In Press. doi: 10.1038/s41386-019-0458-9. PMID:31277076. PMC – In Progress.

Mukhara D, Banks ML, Neigh GN (2018) Stress as a risk factor for substance use disorders: A mini-review of molecular mediators. Front Behav Neurosci 12:309. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2018.00309. PMC6308626.

Negus SS, Banks ML (2018) Modulation of drug choice by chronic drug exposure and withdrawal in rhesus monkeys: Implications for negative reinforcement as a driver of addiction and target for medications development. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 164: 32-39. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2017.04.006. PMC5651207

Banks ML, Negus SS (2017) Insights from preclinical choice models on treating drug addiction. Trends Pharmacol Sci 38:181-194. doi: 10.1016/ PMC5258826

Primary Research Articles:

Townsend EA*, Blake S, Faunce KE*, Hwang CS, Natori Y, Zhou B, Bremer PT, Janda KD, Banks ML (2019) Conjugate vaccine produces long-lasting attenuation of fentanyl vs. food choice and blocks expression of opioid-withdrawal induced increases in fentanyl choice in rats. Neuropsychopharmacology, In Press. doi: 1038/s41386-019-0385-9. PMID:31043682. PMC – In Progress.

Townsend EA*, Negus SS, Caine SB, Thomsen M, Banks ML (2019) Sex differences in opioid reinforcement under a fentanyl vs. food choice procedure in rats. Neuropsychopharmacology, In Press. doi: 10.1038/s41386-019-0356-1. PMID:30818323. PMC – In Progress.

Schwienteck KL*, Faunce KE*, Rice KC, Obeng S, Zhang Y, Blough BE, Grim TW, Negus SS, Banks ML (2019) Effectiveness comparisons of G-protein biased and unbiased mu opioid receptor ligands in warm water tail-withdrawal and drug discrimination in male and female rats. Neuropharmacology 150:200-209. PMID:30660628. PMC6476319.

Faunce KE*, Banks ML (2019) Effects of repeated kappa-opioid agonist U-50488 treatment and subsequent termination on intracranial self-stimulation in male and female rats. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol, In Press. doi: 10.1037/pha0000287. PMID:31008640. PMC – In Progress.

Obeng S, Jali A, Zheng Y, Wang H, Schwienteck KL*, Chen C, Stevens DL, Akbarali H, Dewey WL, Banks ML, Liu-Chen LY, Selley DE, Zhang Y (2019) Characterization of 17-Cyclopropylmethyl-3,14-dihydroxy-4,5-epoxy-6-(indole-7-carboxamido)morphinan (NAN) as a novel opioid receptor modulator for opioid use disorder treatment. ACS Chem Neurosci 10:2518-2532. doi: 10.2021/acschemneuro.9b00038. PMID:30758946. PMC6520168

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