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Philip W. Davidson, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Phone Numbers

Fax: (585) 276-2701

Faculty Appointments


Aging and Developmental Disabilities
Behavior Disorders
Neurotoxicants and Development

Professional Background

Dr. Davidson is Director Emeritus of the Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities (SCDD); a federally-funded center for interdisciplinary training, demonstration services, research and technical assistance in intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). He is also Chief Emeritus of the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. Dr. Davidson served as the major supervisor for over 50 postdoctoral fellows in pediatric psychology and predoctoral fellows in clinical psychology. He periodically serves as a member of PhD dissertation committees in the Department of Clinical and Social Psychology, and MA thesis committees in the School of Nursing. He has directed psychology master's theses at SUNY College at Brockport and at SUNY Colege at Geneseo. Dr. Davidson's clinical work involved serving people with IDD who also had behavioral and psychiatric challenges.


Dr. Davidson's major research interests include: Aging and Developmental Disabilities; Behavior Disorders; and Neurotoxicants and Development.

Philip W. Davidson, PhD is working with the Seychelles Child Development Study team to examine associations between prenatal exposure to transplacentally transmitted methylmercury (MeHg) and child development. Ocean and lake fish ingest methylated Hg++ and store it in fatty tissue. Humans consuming fish through dietary intake, therefore, are exposed to MeHg, known to be a CNS toxin and a teratogen. Eating only a few meals of fish per month may raise MeHg to levels that exceed the WHO standard. Recent studies have indicated that low-dose exposure may present a toxic stimulus in utero and affect the development of those offspring of mothers who eat fish during pregnancy. The study is focused on developmental outcomes in older cohort of children and young adults prenatally exposed to MeHg in the Republic of Seychelles.

Prior to his retirement, Dr. Davidson studied the characteristics of aging persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities.



BA | Bucknell University

MS | Villanova University

PhD | George Washington University

Post-doctoral Training & Residency

1973 - 1974
Clinical Child Psychology Postdoctoral Fellowship, Division for Disorders of Development and Learning, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC


Daniel J. Ziegler Distinguished Alumnus Award
Sponsor: Department of Psychology, Villanova University

Graduate Alumni Medallion
Sponsor: College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Villanova University

American Psychological Association Leadership Award
Sponsor: Division on Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities

1992 - 1993
Faculty Service Award
Sponsor: Department of Pediatrics

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Journal Articles

Davidson PW, van Wijngaarden E, Shamlaye C, Strain JJ, Myers GJ. "Putting findings from the Seychelles Child Development Study into perspective: The importance of a historical special issue of the Seychelles Medical and Dental Journal." Neurotoxicology.. 2019 Nov 7; Epub 2019 Nov 07.

Yeates AJ, McSorley EM, Mulhern MS, Spence T, Crowe W, Grzesik K, Thurston SW, Watson GE, Myers GJ, Davidson PW, Shamlaye CF, van Wijngaarden E, Strain JJ. "Associations between maternal inflammation during pregnancy and infant birth outcomes in the Seychelles Child Development Study." Journal of reproductive immunology.. 2019 Oct 23; 137:102623. Epub 2019 Oct 23.

Irwin JL, McSorley EM, Yeates AJ, Mulhern MS, Strain JJ, Watson GE, Grzesik K, Thurston SW, Love TM, Smith TH, Broberg K, Shamlaye CF, Myers GJ, Davidson PW, van Wijngaarden. "Maternal immune markers during pregnancy and child neurodevelopmental outcomes at age 20 months in the Seychelles Child Development Study." Journal of neuroimmunology.. 2019 Aug 14; 335:577023. Epub 2019 Aug 14.

Books & Chapters

Chapter Title: "The Impact of Prenatal Exposure to MeHg and Maternal Nutritional Status on Child Development: Findings from the Seychelles Child Development Study"
Book Title: Methylmercury and Neurotoxicity: Current Topics in Neurotoxicity
Author List: van Wijngaarden E, Myers GJ, Shamlaye CF, Strain JJ, Davidson PW
Edited By: Ceccatelli S, Aschner M
Published By: Springer 2012 in New York

Chapter Title: "Neurodevelopmental Effects of Maternal Nutrition Status and Exposure to Methylmercury from Eating Fish during Pregnancy: Evidence from the Seychelles Child Development Study"
Book Title: Developmental Neurotoxicology Research: Principles, Models, Techniques
Author List: Davidson PW, Strain JJ, Myers GJ, Shamlaye CF, Thurston S, Bonham MP, Duffy EM, Wallace JMW, Watson G, Clarkson TW
Edited By: Wang C, Slikker W
Published By: John Wiley & Sons 2011 in Hoboken

Chapter Title: "An International Perspective of Mental Health Services for People with Intellectual Disability"
Book Title: Mental Health Services for People with Intellectual Disability: Strategies
Author List: Cain NN, Davidson PW, Dosen A, Garcia-Ibanez J, Giesow V, Hillery J, Kwok H, Martorell A, Novell-Alsina R, Salvador-Carulla L, Torr J
Edited By: Bouras N, Holt G
Published By: Wiley Press 2010 in London