New Director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute Appointed
PITTSBURGH, November 13, 2008 — Nancy E. Davidson, M.D., an internationally renowned expert in breast cancer research and treatment, has been named director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). Dr. Davidson will have overall responsibility and authority for all aspects of cancer research, care and education within the integrated UPCI and UPMC Cancer Centers organization.
Dr. Davidson’s appointment is effective March 1, 2009. She also will serve as associate vice chancellor for cancer research and as chief of the Division of Hematology-Oncology in the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Medicine.
“Being able to attract a cancer research leader of such stature is a testament to not only the strength of UPCI, but also of the University of Pittsburgh, UPMC and, of course, the Pittsburgh community. We are thrilled to have Dr. Davidson join us,” said Arthur S. Levine, M.D., senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, who announced Dr. Davidson’s appointment today. “Under Dr. Davidson’s guidance, we anticipate that UPCI will continue to play a national and international leadership role in understanding the etiology of cancer and in developing new therapies to treat and prevent various forms of the disease.”
In September 2007, Ronald B. Herberman, M.D., founding director of UPCI and director of the UPMC Cancer Centers, announced his intention to step down and devote more time to his research interests. A comprehensive search for his successor has been underway since then.
Dr. Davidson currently serves as director of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center’s Breast Cancer Program in Baltimore and as professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where she also holds the Breast Cancer Research Chair in Oncology. She holds a joint appointment in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
While at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Davidson has integrated basic scientific investigation of the biology of breast cancer with a nationally renowned clinical program focused on new therapies for the disease. She has published key findings on the role of hormones, particularly estrogen, on gene expression and cell growth in breast cancer. She also has guided several important national clinical trials of potential new therapies, including the use of chemoendocrine therapy for premenopausal breast cancer and antiangiogenesis therapy for advanced disease.
“I am tremendously excited to take on this role,” Dr. Davidson said. “As the preeminent institution in western Pennsylvania for the delivery of cancer care, the conduct of basic and translational research, and the education of the next generation of cancer researchers and physicians, UPCI is exceptionally well positioned to contribute to the global effort to reduce the burden of cancer. My goal is to extend the notable successes achieved under the leadership of Dr. Herberman to improve cancer care and the health of our citizens.”
“I am delighted that Dr. Davidson has accepted the directorship of UPCI,” said Dr. Herberman. “Dr. Davidson is an outstanding physician-scientist whose research has made a tremendous impact in the cancer field. Under her leadership, UPCI will continue to grow its commitment to the prevention, early detection and eventual cure of this disease.”
“Since 1985, the cancer institute has flourished under the extraordinary leadership of Dr. Ronald Herberman,” Dr. Levine said. “In addition to leading UPCI, Dr. Herberman’s research has advanced our understanding of tumor immunology and the role of natural killer cells in cancer development. Dr. Herberman will work closely with Dr. Davidson to ensure a smooth transition before returning to the laboratory to continue his research.”
Dr. Davidson received her B.A. from Wellesley College and M.D. from Harvard Medical School, after which she conducted her residency in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital and a fellowship at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). She is a recipient of the Brinker International Award for Breast Cancer Research, the Avon Foundation Medical Advancement Award, AACR-Women in Cancer Research Charlotte Friend Memorial Award, the Wellesley College Alumnae Achievement Award, and the National Cancer Institute Rosalind E. Franklin Award. She recently served as president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and is a member of the scientific advisory board of numerous foundations, including the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the Sidney Kimmel Foundation for Cancer Research, and the V Foundation.
Founded in 1985, the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute became an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in only five years, a record time. UPCI, the only cancer center in western Pennsylvania with this elite designation, serves the region’s population of more than six million. Presently, UPCI receives a total of $174 million in research grants and is ranked 10th in funding from NCI.
The University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences include the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Dental Medicine, Pharmacy, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, and the Graduate School of Public Health. The schools serve as the academic partner to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Together, their combined mission is to train tomorrow’s health care specialists and biomedical scientists, engage in groundbreaking research that will advance understanding of the causes and treatments of disease, and participate in the delivery of outstanding patient care. Since 1997, Pitt and its affiliated university faculty have ranked among the top 10 educational institutions in grant support from the National Institutes of Health.
For additional information about the Schools of the Health Sciences, please visit www.health.pitt.edu.