Nancy Davidson '75

Alumnae Achievement Awards 2000

Nancy E. Davidson ’75
Breast-cancer Researcher

Davidson '75

Nancy E. Davidson ’75 is professor of oncology and Breast Cancer Research Chair in Oncology at the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center.

Training and Tenure
A molecular-biology major at Wellesley, Davidson earned her M.D. from Harvard, interned at the University of Pennsylvania, and completed her residency at Johns Hopkins.

From 1982 to 1985, she conducted research at the National Cancer Institute under Dr. Marc Lippman, whose laboratory has been recognized as a leading and innovative center for breast-cancer research.

Davidson has been on the faculty at Johns Hopkins since 1986. In 1995, the board of trustees named her as the first recipient of the breast-cancer research chair.

Research and Clinical Care
Davidson is credited with several major contributions in breast-cancer research and clinical care. Her laboratory has defined biochemical pathways by which breast-cancer cells die and has identified the role of epigenetic change in DNA methylation in regulating breast-cancer cell growth.

Davidson's clinical focus has been to determine the value of combination chemotherapy/hormonal therapy for younger women with breast cancer and the role of high-dosage chemotherapy with stem-cell rescue.

Her work has been supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society. She is the first woman to receive a grant from the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Compassion and Advocacy
Davidson is a caregiver whose determination to develop innovative treatments is matched by her dedication to her patients. She has touched the lives of many patients and their families, displaying compassion and understanding of the pain and frustration that accompanies a diagnosis of breast cancer.

A devoted advocate for women's health issues, she has testified before Congress to stress the need for more funding for breast-cancer research and awareness programs.

Davidson and her husband, Thomas Wells Kensler, live in Baltimore with their two children.

More Information
The Breast Center at Johns Hopkins

"Role of estrogen receptor gene demethylation and DNA methyltransferase-DNA adduct formation in 5-aza-2'-deoxycytinidine-induced cytotoxicity in human breast cancer cells," an article in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (1997), by Ferguson A.T., Vertino P.M., Spitzner J.R., Baylin,S.B., Muller M.T., and Davidson, N.E.


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