Svend Davanger is one of only a handful of European researchers leading the field of the molecular anatomy of the synapse.
The research achievements of Davanger can be divided into three partly overlapping, but yet distinct main areas: Regulation of glutamate receptor localization and function, molecular mechanisms in membrane trafficking, and localization of amino acid neurotransmitters.
Davanger was among the first to localize synaptic glutamate receptors at the ultrastructural level (Matsubara et al., 1996), and has demonstrated the role of the proteins NEEP21 and PICK1 in synaptic trafficking of glutamate receptors, as well as providing evidence of PICK1 function in presynaptic glutamate receptor regulation (Feligioni et al., 2006; Utvik et al., 2009; Haglerød et al., 2009).
He has contributed to establishing the role of the exocyst complex also in the mammalian brain (Hsu et al., 1996), and he demonstrated that it also has a function in membrane plasticity in the adult brain (Vik-Mo et al., 2003).
Davanger published thorough analyses of amino acid transmitter localization and colocalization in the human retina (Davanger et al., 1991; Davanger et al., 1994; Davanger, 1996), which have become valuable reference paper in eye research.
He has also developed a method for determining glutamate release and redistribution in neuronal cell cultures (Oltedal et al., 2008). Recently, he has contributed to the study of the effects of mental activity to brain activation patterns (EEG, fMRI) (Lagopoulos et al., 2009; Davanger et al., 2010).