Our lab strives to answer the question: How does the nervous system stay stable throughout life?
The Davis laboratory is focused on identifying the cellular and molecular mechanisms that control synapse formation, development, and plasticity. We combine genetic and genomic tools from Drosophila with live imaging and electrophysiology.
We would like to understand at a molecular level how individual cells, neurons or muscle, achieve stable levels of activity during development and throughout life. We hypothesize that each cell in the nervous system is endowed with potent homeostatic mechanisms that enable cellular activity levels to be regulated. Understanding these homeostatic mechanisms may have far-reaching implications for understanding and treating neural diseases.
The second major objective of the laboratory is to understand the cellular mechanisms that control synaptic growth in the nervous system. How are the stereotyped sizes and morphologies of synapses determined during development? What are the cellular and molecular mechanisms that modulate the addition or elimination of transmitter release machinery within a synapse during development? Understanding how neuronal and synaptic growth is normally controlled may provide the opportunity to manipulate synaptic function for the treatment of neurodegenerative disease or injury to the nervous system.