A distinguished leader in cancer research, Dr. Davidson has built an international reputation as an expert in the biology and treatment of breast cancer. Her special focus has been on the roles of hormones and the estrogen receptor in breast carcinogenesis as key molecular mechanisms responsible for driving breast cancer initiation and progression. Dr. Davidson’s team was the first to describe how the expression of estrogen receptor genes is regulated by epigenetic factors that affect how the DNA code is read and eventually translated into proteins. She has also contributed foundational research to our understanding of how estrogen deprivation and other therapies trigger breast cancer cells to kill themselves through apoptosis, or programmed cell death.
Her laboratory studies have paved the way for the establishment of new clinical trials involving drugs that exploit molecular signaling pathways to combat breast cancer, including polyamine analogues, histone deacetylase inhibitors, and DNA methyltransferase inhibitors. She has also helped lead several critical clinical trials that have advanced the care of breast cancer patients, for example, establishing the role of ovarian suppression for premenopausal women with hormone-responsive breast cancer, the importance of aromatase inhibitors in postmenopausal women, and the utility of trastuzumab for the treatment of early stage HER2-positive breast cancer.
Dr. Davidson’s role as an oncologist and researcher has led her to gain notoriety as a top opinion leader in the field of breast cancer biology and treatment. She has authored editorials, commentaries, and reviews to provide perspective for key research papers as well as critical areas in the field, and is revered as an early leader in the area of value in cancer care.
2018 Allen S. Lichter Visionay Leader Award and Lecture, American Society of Clinical Oncology
2017 Jill Rose Award, Breast Cancer Research Foundation
2016-2017 President, AACR
2016 Elected Member, Johns Hopkins University Society of Scholars
2016 Elected Fellow, American College of Physicians
2014-2015 Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher
2012 Potamkin Award, Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition
2011 Elected Member, National Academy of Medicine
2010 Elected Member, Association of American Physicians
2010 Gianni Bonadonna Breast Cancer Award, American Society of Clinical Oncology
2009 Elected Fellow, American College of Physicians
2009 Distinguished Alumna Award, Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association
2008 AACR-Women in Cancer Research Charlotte Friend Memorial Lectureship
2008 Rosalind E. Franklin Award for Women in Science, National Cancer Institute
2007-2008 President, American Society of Clinical Oncology
2002-2005 Board of Directors, American Association for Cancer Research