Nickolas SteinauerNickolas Steinauer, an MD/PHD student in Dr. Jinsong Zhang's lab, won a Travel Award to attend the 2016 ASH Meeting on Hematologic Malignancies held in Chicago this September.

Nick's abstract was chosen as one of the top 6 abstracts for oral presentation at the meeting. He is currently supported by the T32 training grant in the Department. Congratulations, Nick!
ASH Meeting September 2016
Lauren Stein, a graduate student in the Yosten/Samson lab, received her doctorate at the SLU 2016 Graduate Programs commencement exercises May 12th. In April Dr. Stein received the Research Recognition Award from the Endocrinology and Metabolism Section of the American Physiological Society for her work identifying the receptor of the novel peptide hormone, Phoenixin, which was discovered by Drs. Yosten and Samson in 2013.

Dr. Stein has accepted an NIH funded postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry and the Translational Neurosciences Program at the Perlman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Stein will be continuing her studies on  the neuroendocrinology of energy balance in the laboratory of Dr. Matthew Hayes.
Contact Us
Department of Pharmacological and Physiology
Room M 362 || 1402 South Grand Blvd
St. Louis, Missouri 63104
Phone: 314-977-6400
Fax: 314-977-6410

William Banks, M.D.

Departments of Internal Medicine, Geriatric Division and Pharmacological and Physiological Science
M.D., University of Missouri, columbia, 1979
previously on the staff of Tulane University



Our laboratory investigates the ability of peptides, regulatory proteins, and related substances to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB). The ability of these substances to cross the BBB forms the basis for a humoral mediation of interactions between the central nervous system and the peripheral tissues. The applications of this premise are broad and our laboratory uses a variety of in vivo, in situ, and in vitro models to investigate various aspects of this field.

    Examples of currently active programs are:


  1. The role of peptide transport system (PTS)-1, a saturable system that transports methionine enkephalin (ME) from blood to brain, in regulating brain ME levels in alcohol dependence and withdrawal.
  2. The role that cytokine transport across the BBB plays in the neuroimmune axis.
  3. The role that the BBB plays through control of the exchange of leptin, insulin, pancreatic polypeptide and other feeding hormones in the regulation of body weight, appetite, and feeding behaviors.
  4. The mechanism used by the AIDS virus to enter and exit the central nervous system.
  5. The pathophysiology of prion penetration of the BBB.
  6. Alterations of neurotrophin and cytokine transport systems located at the BBB with various types of neurological injury including spinal cord trauma, animal models of multiple sclerosis, and brain ischemia.

Numerous other active projects relate to the pathophysiologic mechanisms of altered BBB function and the role that those alterations play in disease and health.


  1. During, M.J., L. Cao, D.S. Zuzga, J.S. Francis, H.L. Fitzsimons, X. Jiao, R.J. Bland, M. Klugmann, W.A. Banks, D.J. Ducker, and C.N. Haile. Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor is involved in learning and neuroprotection. Nature Medicine 9:1173-1179, 2003.
  2. Banks, W.A., A.B. Coon, S.M. Robinson, A. Moinuddin, J.M. Shultz, R. Nakaoke, J.E. Morley. Triglycerides induce leptin resistance at the blood-brain barrier. Diabetes 53:1253-1260, 2004.
  3. Urayama, A., J.H. Grubb, W.A. Banks, W.S. Sly. Epinephrine enhances lysosomal enzyme delivery across the blood-brain barrier by up-regulation of the mannose 6-phosphate receptor. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 104: 12873-78, 2007.

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