Frontiers Conference at the University of Pittsburgh

University of Pittsburgh researchers play a leading role in a White House conference, co-hosted by Pitt and Carnegie Mellon, on the future of innovation.

Nancy Davidson

  • Associate Vice Chancellor for Cancer Research
  • Director, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute
  • Director, UPMC CancerCenter
  • Hillman Professor of Medicine, Professor of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology, School of Medicine


Davidson’s research provided the first description of epigenetic regulation of the estrogen receptor alpha gene through DNA methylation and/or histone modification in human breast cancer cells and demonstrated that inhibitors of DNA methyltransferase and/or histone deacetylases could lead to functional ER re-expression. These studies set the stage for work by many labs, including her own, to define the role of epigenetic gene modifications in hormone resistance in breast cancer. Her lab defined the mechanisms by which inhibitors of DNA methyltransferases, as well as histone modifying enzymes, can suppress breast cancer growth in vitro.

She has published on the role of hormones, particularly estrogen, in gene expression and cell growth in breast cancer, and has overseen several national clinical trials of potential new therapies, including chemoendocrine therapy for premenopausal breast cancer.