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. ​​​Pratt M, Titlow S, Davis I., Barker AR, Dawe HR, Raff JW, Roque H. (2016). Drosophila sensory cilia lacking MKS-proteins exhibit striking defects in development but only subtle defects in adults. J Cell Sci   doi: 10.1242/jcs.194621 pdf
  2. Järvelin A, Noerenberg M, Davis I, and Castello A. (2016). The new (dis)order in RNA regulation. Cell Commun Signal: 14, 9.  pdf
  3. Davidson A, Parton RM, Rabouille C, Weil TT, Davis I. (2016) Localized Translation of gurken/TGF-α mRNA during Axis Specification Is Controlled by Access to Orb/CPEB on Processing Bodies. Cell Rep. 14, 1-12.  pii: S2211-1247(16)30141-3. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.02.038 pdf
  4. McDermott SM, Yang L, Halstead JM, Hamilton RS, Meignin C, Davis I. (2014) Drosophila Syncrip modulates the expression of mRNAs encoding key synaptic proteins required for morphology at the neuromuscular junction. RNA. 2014 Oct;20(10):1593-606 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 the Wellcome Trust, the BBSRC and Marie Currie. 

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 fly base and the various stock centres

Ilan Davis Lab

Biochemistry Department, University of Oxford