Kirsty Sholem

Here in the Davis lab I work on how phosphorylation influences the function of Syncrip, a critical gene of interest in our lab that is heavily involved in neurogenesis.

staci Thornton

Lu Yang

Fran Robertson

Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow

Phosphorylation effects on syncrip function




RNA regulation in neural stem cells

Carine Meignin

Aino Jarvelin

Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Researcher

mRNA localisation and cellular learning

While in the Davis lab,  James worked on one of the key genes that we are interested in, Syncrip. He worked on how Syncrip is involved in signalling and plasticity at synapses. He left the lab to work with Jeffrey Chao in Basel and is currently a senior postdoctoral fellow in Katherina Gaus' lab in New South Wales.

Kirsty worked how Gurken becomes localised to its final destination at the dorsal-anterior corner of Drosophila oocytes, a key part of the developmental process. She now taken up a teaching role. 

MArtin Hailstone

System Biology DPhil Student


Mathematical modelling of

mRNA transport in egg

chambers during axis



ONBI DPhil Student

Machine learning image analysis tools development

Staci worked on screening the Drosophila brain for novel localising RNAs with a particular emphasis on studying the molecular mechanisms of activity-dependent synaptic plasticity in the axons of the mushroom body. She now works in the Neurobiology Dept. of Cornell University.

Professor of Cell Biology

Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator 
Senior Research Fellow, Jesus College

Director, Micron Oxford 

2016 - 2017

Activity dependent mushroom body development


Computational biology and structural analysis.

Ana Palanca


A structure function analysis of gurken mRNA

I am studying for my DPhil as part of the Systems Biology DTC programme. My background is in mathematics and I use computational models and inference techniques to enable us to elucidate the key parts and rate-limiting steps in mRNA localisation. 

Former Members

MSDTC DPhil Student

Machine learning approaches to automate analysis of microscopy data

Senior Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Researcher

Microtubule dynamics and advanced imaging

I am in the Davis lab working in the Wellcome Trust Chromosome and Developmental Biology D. Phil. programme. My research is on trying to understand changes in the transcriptome caused by the switch from proliferation to differentiation of larval brain stem cells in Drosophila.


Syncrip and the morphology of the neuromuscular junction 

Former Students

Gavin Wilkie: 1998-2001. Dynein-mediated RNA transport in Drosophila oocytes.

Gavin went on to work on human disease research and diagnostics and currently is the facility manager of the Next-Generation sequencing facility at the University of Glasgow.

Hille Tekotte: 1999-2002. Nuclear export and its impact on Drosophila development

After graduating, Hille went on to work in a protein biology lab under Michael Tyers, and is currently the manager of the Edinburgh Genome Foundry at the University of Edinburgh.

Nina McDougall: 2000-2003. gurken localisation and axis specification in the Drosophila oocyte.

​Alejandra Clarke: 2001-2005. The mechanism  of gurken mRNA transport and localisation .

​Georgia Vendra: 2002-2006. mRNA localisation in Drosophila blastoderm embryos.

After a short postdoctoral stint in the lab, Georgia went on to work at the Centre for Brain Research at the Medical University of Vienna, where she is currently a staff scientist.

Jan Soetaert: 2004-2008. mRNA localisation and localisation in p-bodies.

​Jan currently works as a staff scientist in the imaging facility of the Blizard Institute, a part of Queen Mary's University.

Suzanne McDermott: 2005-2009. The signals required for gurken localisation. 

For information on Suz's postdoc work in our lab, see above.

Sam Cooper: 2007-2010. Proteomic analysis of factors binding gurken.

Sam now works as an administrator at Gonville & Caius college in Cambridge.

James Maximillian Halstead: 2009-2013. Regulation of translation and localisation by Syncrip.

For more information on James see his profile above. 

Alex Davidson: 2011-2015. Localised translation of gurken and it's control by orb

Alex has joined a consultancy firm since leaving the lab. 

Lu Yang: 2013-2016. RNA regulation in neuroblasts.

Lu is currently a medical student while also working part-time in our lab. For more information see her profile, above. 

Kirsty Sholem: 2013-2017.The structure of the gurken localisation signal.

Kirsty worked with us as a postdoc for several months (see above), before leaving the lab to pursue a career in teaching. 


RNA localisation and axis specification in Drosophila development .

In the Davis lab I am investigating how specific RNA molecules behave near synapses during the process of cellular learning.

RicharD PArton

Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow

The role of post-transcriptional regulation in brain development

Dphil Students


RNA localisation and its effect on oocyte development

Lab Manager/Senior Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Researcher

Russell developed bioinformatic methods in our lab to analyse RNA structural motifs and how they impacted on RNA localisation and protein interactions. He is now a senior bioinformatician at the Centre for Trophoblast Research in Cambridge.

Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Researcher / Bioinformatician

Genomics analysis of post-transcriptional regulation

I joined the Davis lab to investigate the role of neuronal granules in synaptic plasticity and memory, using the larvae of Drosophila as a model.

Tim Weil

Suzanne worked on how Syncrip regulates other key synaptic proteins in order to form synapses at the neuromuscular junction. She currently works in the Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Seattle, WA.

Tim worked on the influence the localisation of certain RNAs, particularly bicoid and gurken, has on Drosophila development. He currently is a lab head in Cambridge Zoology Dept, where his group work on RNA localisation and egg activation. 

ilan Davis

Biochemistry DPhil Student

The role of post-transcriptional regulation in brain development

Group Leader

I am interested in how post-transcriptional mechanisms govern neural stem cell proliferation and differentiation during brain development. Particularly, I will focus on the cis and trans-acting factors acting through highly extended 3'UTR in transcript regulations. 

MK Thompson


Wellcome Trust DPhil Student

Control of neurogenesis in the Drosophila larval brain

2009 - 2014

Syncrip and the Drosophila neuromuscular junction

I am Ilan's lab manager and I also work on a large-scale screen seeking new RNA targets that localise in the Drosophila nervous system. The tissue I am working on is the larval brain.

Lu worked on RNA regulation in neural stem cells using a combination of biochemical and microscopy analysis to uncover the molecular mechanisms for differentially regulated protein expressions in different cell types in the context of neural development.

I work using state-of-the-art and advanced imaging techniques as well as developing improved imaging methods and quantitative image analysis to investigate the molecular mechanism of RNA transport in Drosophila tissues. 

While in the Davis lab, Carine worked on various aspects of RNA localisation and how different aspects, including localisation signals and interactions with molecular motors, influenced axis specification. She now heads the RNAi & Receptors research group at  the Réponse immunitaire et développement chez les Insectes in the IBMC in Strasbourg.

Tamsin Samuels

In the Davis lab, I combine experimental, sequencing based techniques and bioinformatic data analysis to elucidate how RNA-binding proteins regulate neural stem cell differentiation.I also work together with the Castello lab on characterising the roles of RNA-binding proteins in viral infection.

The development of the brain requires a complex series of cell fate decisions, frequently involving transcriptional regulation of key factors. I am interested in assessing how post-transcriptional processes contribute to the precise timing and outcome of these developmental transitions.

Josh Titlow

I am currently working on applying machine learning algorithms to automate the analysis of single-molecule fluorescence hybridisation (smFISH) data. 

Clara Pavillet

Darragh Ennis

James Halstead

Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Researcher

Electron and super-resolution microscopy

Jeff Lee



Large imaging datasets can be difficult to analyse in an efficient and consistent manner. I am working on developing flexible tools for imaging and the subsequent analysis of Drosophila larval brains to better understand their development.