Davis Lab Oxford

Who we are

Established in Oxford in 1995, we’re now based in the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, a community of laboratories researching the processes underlying normal cell and molecular biology and hoping to determine how these processes are perturbed in inherited and acquired human diseases. We’re also members of the MRC Human Immunology Unit. Our own lab’s philosophy is reflected in comments made by Max Delbrück in 1976:

“If you have a good feeling for how molecules behave, you are better able to see what are really interesting problems. If you have just the vaguest notion… you think everything is possible and all your theories become arm-waving theories.”

We’re working towards generating a reliable framework for manipulating human immune responses. We welcome enquiries from anyone but especially from students wanting to do DPhil studies here.

Davis Lab Oxford

What we do

Our focus has been on the cell biology of the T-cell surface. We developed general methods for crystalizing glycoproteins and determined the structures of key T-cell surface proteins including the first adhesion protein (CD2) and its ligand CD58, the costimulatory receptor CD28 and its ligand CD80, and the large tyrosine phosphatase CD45. We also worked out how weak, specific recognition is achieved by these types of proteins and obtained the first insights into the likely overall composition of the T-cell surface. Most importantly we proposed, with PA van der Merwe, one of the most complete and best-supported explanations for leukocyte receptor triggering, called the kinetic-segregation model.

Our work is funded principally by The Wellcome Trust, but also by the UK Medical Research Council.

Ten Key Papers