Imperial College London


Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Life Sciences

Visiting Professor



+44 (0)20 7594 5420d.davis Website CV




609Sir Alexander Fleming BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Daniel M Davis, PhD, is a Visiting Professor at Imperial College London and is also The Director of Research in the Manchester Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research - a research institute funded by the University of Manchester, AstraZeneca and GSK.

Prior to this, he was a Professor of Molecular Immunology at Imperial College London, UK and Head of the Immunology and Infection Section at the South Kensington Campus. He previously completed an Irvington Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship with Professor Jack Strominger at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA, after earning a PhD in Physics at Strathclyde University, Glasgow, UK, and a BSc in Physics at the University of Manchester, UK.

Professor Davis pioneered the use of novel imaging techniques to help visualize key molecular components of the immune response. His work helped establish new concept of how immune cells communicate with each other and how they recognize disease. In 1999, he published the first images showing protein reorganisation at the interface between human Natural Killer (NK) cells and tumour cells. Exploring how changes in the arrangements of proteins occur and how they control communication between immune cells established the concept of the immune synapse, now recognised for its critical importance in cell communication and viral transfer between cells. His group recently described long membrane tethers or ‘nanotubes’ as a new class of physical connectors between immune cells ,which have now been visualised in vivo as well as in vitro. Such membrane nanotubes aid immune cell activity and present a novel direct route for HIV-1 to efficiently spread between T cells. Professor Davis has published over 100 papers, collectively cited more than 6000 times, and was the recipient of a Lister Prize Fellowship in 2005, a Wolfson Royal Society Merit Award in 2008 and became a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2011. He has authored many articles for a general audience, has presented several, well-received public lectures, and has written a popular-level science book – The Compatibility Gene - published by Penguin in 2013.

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Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Brown ACN, Oddos S, Dobbie IM, et al., 2011, Remodelling of Cortical Actin Where Lytic Granules Dock at Natural Killer Cell Immune Synapses Revealed by Super-Resolution Microscopy, PLOS Biology, Vol:9, ISSN:1544-9173

Chauveau A, Aucher A, Eissmann P, et al., 2010, Membrane nanotubes facilitate long-distance interactions between natural killer cells and target cells, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol:107, ISSN:0027-8424, Pages:5545-5550

Davis DM, 2009, Mechanisms and functions for the duration of intercellular contacts made by lymphocytes, Nature Reviews Immunology, Vol:9, ISSN:1474-1733, Pages:543-555

Culley FJ, Johnson M, Evans JH, et al., 2009, Natural Killer Cell Signal Integration Balances Synapse Symmetry and Migration, PLOS Biology, Vol:7, ISSN:1544-9173

Davis DM, Sowinski S, 2008, Membrane nanotubes: dynamic long-distance connections between animal cells, Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology, Vol:9, ISSN:1471-0072, Pages:431-436

Sowinski S, Jolly C, Berninghausen O, et al., 2008, Membrane nanotubes physically connect T cells over long distances presenting a novel route for HIV-1 transmission, Nature Cell Biology, Vol:10, ISSN:1465-7392, Pages:211-219

Nedvetzki S, Sowinski S, Eagle RA, et al., 2007, Reciprocal regulation of human natural killer cells and macrophages associated with distinct immune synapses, Blood, Vol:109, ISSN:0006-4971, Pages:3776-3785

McCann FE, Eissmann P, Onfelt B, et al., 2007, The activating NKG2D ligand MHC class I-related chain a transfers from target cells to NK cells in a manner that allows functional consequences, Journal of Immunology, Vol:178, ISSN:0022-1767, Pages:3418-3426

Davis DM, 2007, Intercellular transfer of cell-surface proteins is common and can affect many stages of an immune response, Nature Reviews Immunology, Vol:7, ISSN:1474-1733, Pages:238-243

Nolte-'t Hoen ENM, Almeida CR, Cohen NR, et al., 2007, Increased surveillance of cells in mitosis by human NK cells suggests a novel strategy for limiting tumor growth and viral replication, Blood, Vol:109, ISSN:0006-4971, Pages:670-673

Onfelt B, Nedvetzki S, Benninger RKP, et al., 2006, Structurally distinct membrane nanotubes between human macrophages support long-distance vesicular traffic or surfing of bacteria, Journal of Immunology, Vol:177, ISSN:0022-1767, Pages:8476-8483

Treanor B, Lanigan PMP, Kumar S, et al., 2006, Microclusters of inhibitory killer immunoglobulin like receptor signaling at natural killer cell immunological synapses, Journal of Cell Biology, Vol:174, ISSN:0021-9525, Pages:153-161

Davis DM, 2006, Intrigue at the immune synapse, Scientific American, Vol:294, ISSN:0036-8733, Pages:48-55

Vanherberghen B, Andersson K, Carlin LM, et al., 2004, Human and murine inhibitory natural killer cell receptors transfer from natural killer cells to target cells, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol:101, ISSN:0027-8424, Pages:16873-16878

Onfelt B, Nedvetzki S, Yanagi K, et al., 2004, Cutting edge: Membrane nanotubes connect immune cells, Journal of Immunology, Vol:173, ISSN:0022-1767, Pages:1511-1513

Davis DM, Dustin ML, 2004, What is the importance of the immunological synapse?, Trends in Immunology, Vol:25, ISSN:1471-4906, Pages:323-327

Eleme K, Taner SB, Onfelt B, et al., 2004, Cell surface organization of stress-inducible proteins ULBP and MICA that stimulate human NK cells and T cells via NKG2D, Journal of Experimental Medicine, Vol:199, ISSN:0022-1007, Pages:1005-1010

Carlin LM, Eleme K, McCann FE, et al., 2001, Intercellular transfer and supramolecular organization of human leukocyte antigen C at inhibitory natural killer cell immune synapses, Journal of Experimental Medicine, Vol:194, ISSN:0022-1007, Pages:1507-1517

Davis DM, Chiu I, Fassett M, et al., 1999, The human natural killer cell immune synapse, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol:96, ISSN:0027-8424, Pages:15062-15067

MAndelboim O, Davis DM, Reyburn HT, et al., 1996, Enhancement of class II-restricted T cell responses by costimulatory NK receptors for class I MHC proteins, Science, Vol:274, ISSN:0036-8075, Pages:2097-2100

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