Research Focus 
The mechanism of mRNA transport and localised translation in Drosophila. We are elucidating the cis-acting RNA signals and transacting factors that dictate the intracellular destination of mRNA and its localised translation in oocytes and neuromuscular junctions. 

Keywords:  RNA, Development, Drosophila, live cell imaging,  synaptic plasticity, neuromuscular junction

We welcome informal enquiries from prospective Post-Doc (email and PhD students (go here)

Cells are the fundamental unit of all life on earth. Understanding how cells function is a major goal of modern biology and is of major importance in medicine. Our lab is using flies as a model system to understand how molecules are actively sorted and distributed within cells. Furthermore, flies are an excellent model for many human diseases, including genetic disorders and infections. 


Major Funding Sources
Wellcome Trust Senior Fellowship  Until 2017
Wellcome Trust Strategic Award: Advanced Imaging for Chromosome and RNA Dynamics (Micron) Until 2016

David Ish-Horowicz science family at the 2013 RNA Localisation Meeting in Toronto
DPhil Opportunities in Advanced Imaging

We currently have openings for a doctoral programme in advanced imaging, with a focus on biomedical imaging, starting in October 2014. For more information please contact

Selected Recent Publications                            
  1. Weil TT, Parton RM, Herpers B, Soetaert J, Veenendaal T, Xanthakis D, Dobbie IM, Halstead JM, Hayashi R, Rabouille C, Davis I. (2012). Drosophila patterning is established by differential association of mRNAs with P bodies. Nat Cell Biol. 1305-13. pdf

  2. McDermott SM, Meignin C, Rappsilber J, Davis I. (2012)Drosophila Syncrip binds the gurken mRNA localisation signal and regulates localised transcripts during axis specification. Biology Open 1, 488-497.pdf
  3. Weil TT, Parton RM, Davis I. (2012) .Preparing Individual Drosophila Egg Chambers for Live Imaging. J. Vis. Exp. (60), e3679. video
  4. Parton RM, Hamilton RS, Ball G, Yang L, Cullen CF, Lu W, Ohkura H, Davis I. (2011).  PAR-1-dependent orientation gradient of dynamic microtubules directs posterior cargo transport in the Drosophila oocyte. J Cell Biol. 194, 21-35. pdf   Podcast
  5. Brown A., Oddos, S., Dobbie, I., Alakoskela, J., Parton, R., Eissmann, P., Neil, M., Dunsby, C., French, P.,  Davis, I., Davis, D.. (2011) Remodelling of cortical actin where lytic granules dock at natural killer cell immune synapses revealed by super-resolution microscopy. Plos Biol. 9: 31001152. free pdf
  6. Oliveira, R., Hamilton, R., Pauli, A., Davis, I., Nasmyth, K. (2010) Cohesin cleavage and Cdk inhibition trigger formation of daughter nuclei. Nature Cell Biol, 12:185-92 pdf
  7. Weil, TT., Xanthakis, D., Parton, R., Dobbie, I., Rabouille, C., Gavis, E. and Davis, I. (2010). Distinguishing direct from indirect roles for bicoid mRNA localization factors. Development 13: 169-176  free pdf
  8. Meignin C, and Davis I. (2010) Transmitting the message: intracellular mRNA localization. Curr Opin Cell Biol 22:112-9
  9. Weil, T, Parton, R. and  Davis I. (2010) Making the message clear: Visualizing mRNA localization  Trends in Cell Biology 
  10. Zimyanin VL, Belaya K, Pecreaux J, Gilchrist MJ, Clark A, Davis I, St Johnston D. (2008). In vivo imaging of oskar mRNA transport reveals the mechanism of posterior localization. Cell 134, 843-53  free pdf
  11. Weil TT, Parton R, Davis I, Gavis ER. (2008). Changes in bicoid mRNA anchoring highlight conserved mechanisms during the oocyte-to-embryo transition. Current Biology 18, 1055-61 free pd
Research Projects

mRNA localisation and localised translation and their roles in establishing the body plan in the oocytes and embryos


mRNA transport and localised translation and its role in synaptic plasticity at the Neuromuscular junction (Ben Bleasdale and Ilan Davis)