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Philip W. Davidson, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Phone Numbers

Office: (585) 275-6626

Fax: (585) 276-2701

Faculty Appointments


Aging and Developmental Disabilities
Behavior Disorders
Neurotoxicants and Development

Professional Background

Dr. Davidson is the Director (and Division Chief) of the Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities (SCDD); a federally-funded center for interdisciplinary training, demonstration services, research and technical assistance in developmental disabilities. Each year about 70 graduate and post-graduate trainees spend from 8 to over 500 hours in preclinical didactic, and clinical and research practica in developmental disabilities. Trainees represent eleven clinical disciplines including: Medicine, Gerontology, Psychology, Social Work, Special Education, Speech Pathology, Nursing, Pedodontics, Nutrition, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Psychiatry. Some trainees are drawn from departments and schools of the University of Rochester and others from SCDD's affiliated institutions of higher learning or from the community. Extramurally funded degree and certificate programs have been developed with the Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development. Funded fellowship programs have been established in Pediatrics, Psychology, and Physical Therapy. A funded program on aging and developmental disabilities was established by SCDD and the Center on Aging.

Dr. Davidson has served as the major supervisor for 19 postdoctoral fellows in pediatric psychology and predoctoral fellows in clinical psychology and three research fellows. 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 Brockport and at SUNY Geneseo.


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

Philip W. Davidson, PhD is working with Gary Myers, MD, to study the effects of transplacentally transmitted methylmercury (MeHg) on child development. Ocean and lake fish ingest methylated Hg++ and store it in fatty tissue. Humans ingesting 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.

Dr. Davidson is also studying the characteristics of persons with developmental disabilities. Little is known about the health outcomes as persons with developmental disabilities age. Dr. Davidson is working with an international team with investigators on a project to ascertain health status amoung cohorts of older adults and elderly adults. Between 10%-30% of persons with developmental disabilities are believed to have psychiatric disorders. Among the most contentious of these so-called dual diagnoses is the coincidence of mental retardation and aggressive or assaultive behavior. This cohort of individuals is rarely able to live in community settings and often must live and work in overly restrictive environments.



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

Prince, L., Korbas, M., Davidson, P. & Broberg, K., R. "Target organ specific activity of drosophila MRP (ABCC1) moderates developmental toxicity of methylmercury." Toxicological Sciences (online). 2014; .

van Wijngaarden, E., Harrington, D., Kobrosly, R., Thurston, S.W., O'Hara, T., McSorley, E.M., Myers, G.J., Watson, G.E., Shamlaye, C.F., Strain, J.J. & Davidson, P.W. "Prenatal exposure to methylmercury and LCPUFA in relation to birth weight." Annals of Epidemiology. 2014; 24(4): 273-278.

Xiao, L., Thurston, S.W., Ruppert, D., Love, T.M. & Davidson, P.W. "Bayesian models for multiple outcomes in domains with application to the Seychelles Child Development Study." Journal of the American Statistical Association. 2014; 109(505): 1-10.

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: Springer2012 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 & Sons2011 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 Press2010 in London