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Graham Ellis-Davies

  • PROFESSOR Neuroscience
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  • B.Sc and Ph.D., University of Reading UK


    I spent several years as a postdoc in the Department of Physiology at the University of Pennsylvania. During that time my research changed from being purely focused on photochemistry to calcium regulated physiology. I started my own my own lab in 1995, and since then I have become interested in using photochemical methods to study neuronal plasticity and neuronal degeneration.

    Visit Graham Ellis-Davies Laboratory for more information.


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Light has been used to study cells since their discovery at the end of the 17th century. The development of modern ultrafast lasers and transgenic fluorescent proteins provides the means to monitor (sub)cellular events in vivo. Such microscopy allows us to see into the brain at chosen intervals without disturbing it. Detection is so sensitive we can repeatedly pick out single synapses. Our approach is just like like taking daily (or weekly) photographs of a plant coming into bloom: time-lapse snap-shots enable you to construct a picture of the build up of a complex system step by step, in real time. We are currently applying this method to murine models of Alzheimer's disease, in order to study the causes and consequences of neurodegeneration during disease progression.

A second line of research is the use of light to control cell function. We use organic chemistry to construct photochemically labile molecules (caged compounds) that disgorge their contents upon illumination, so activating a selected biological target. We are privileged to collaborate with several labs around the world that use caged compounds to study cellular function, including Kamran Khodakhah (Einstein), Erst Niggli (Bern), Phil Haydon (Tufts), George Augustine (Duke), Haruo Kasai (Tokyo), Brain MacVicar (Vancouver), Ed Levitan (Pitt), and Dwight Bergles (Hopkins). 

Industry Relationships

Physicians and scientists on the faculty of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai often interact with pharmaceutical, device and biotechnology companies to improve patient care, develop new therapies and achieve scientific breakthroughs. In order to promote an ethical and transparent environment for conducting research, providing clinical care and teaching, Mount Sinai requires that salaried faculty inform the School of their relationships with such companies.

Below are financial relationships with industry reported by Dr. Ellis-Davies during 2012 and/or 2013. Please note that this information may differ from information posted on corporate sites due to timing or classification differences.

Royalty Payments:

  • Invitrogen (Life Technologies)

Mount Sinai's faculty policies relating to faculty collaboration with industry are posted on our website at Patients may wish to ask their physician about the activities they perform for companies.

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