our Research


+44 (0)1865 613271


We are interested in understanding how the fly brain develops and functions, as a model for the human brain in health and in disease.

Lab Members

METhods & Technology development

Contact Us


Biochemistry Dept.,

University of Oxford,

South Parks Rd.,



Vacancies &
PhD Positions

Research Focus

We are interested in understanding how the fly brain develops and functions, as a model for the human brain in health and in disease. We are focusing on elucidating the role of post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression in neural stem cell (neuroblast) development and their differentiation into neurons, as well as in synaptic plasticity during memory and learning. These mechanisms include mRNA transport and localised translation, as well as mRNA stability and processing. 

Keywords:  mRNA, Neuronal development, Neural stem cells, Drosophila, live cell imaging,  synaptic plasticity, neuromuscular junction, brain, neurons, memory, learning, neuromuscular diseases. 

We use a wide range of methodologies in our research, from established methods to cutting edge technologies and purpose-built microscopes.

Movies & Images

  1. Yang L., Titlow J., Ennis D., Smith C., Mitchell J., Young F.L., Waddell S., Ish-Horowicz D., Davis I. (2017) Single molecule fluorescence in situ hybridisation for quantitating post-transcriptional regulation in Drosophila brains. Methods. pdf
  2. Yang L., Samuels T.J., Arava Y., Robertson F., Järvelin A.I., Yang C-P., Lee T., Ish-Horowicz D., Davis I. (Under Review, Cell Reports) Regulating prospero mRNA Stability Determines When Neural Stem Cells Stop Dividing. pre-print
  3. Yang C-P, Samuels TJ, Huang Y, Yang L, Ish-Horowicz D, Davis I, Lee T. (2017). Imp/Syp Temporal Gradients Govern Decommissioning Of Drosophila Neural Stem Cells. Development. 144(19):3454-3464 pdf. ​
  4. Hailstone M., Yang L., Waithe D., Samuels T.J., Arava Y., Dobrzycki T., Parton R.M., Davis I. (Under Review, Dev Cell) Brain Development: Machine Learning Analysis Of Individual Stem Cells In Live 3D Tissue. pre-print
  5. Moore S., Jarvelin A.I., Davis I., Bond G.L., Castello, A. (2017) Expanding horizons: new roles for non-canonical RNA-binding proteins in cancer. Current Opinion in Genetics and Development. (In press)
  6. Titlow JS, Yang L, Parton RM, Palanca A, Davis I.​​ (2017) Super-Resolution Single Molecule FISH at the Drosophila Neuromuscular Junction.​ Methods Mol Biol. 1649:163-175. pdf

                      Full list of publications on Pubmed

We welcome informal enquiries from prospective Post-Doc and PhD students

The research in our lab is generously funded by Wellcome, the Leverhulme Trust, the BBSRC and Marie Curie. 

Recent Publications

Browse a selection of movies and still images taken using the advanced imaging techniques we use in the lab.

In the Davis lab we have a team of people from diverse scientific backgrounds who bring a wide range of skills to our research.

We wish to thank the generosity of the Drosophila research community and acknowledge the contribution of FlyBase and the various stock centres

Ilan Davis Lab

Biochemistry Department, University of Oxford