Dr. Davis was recruited from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Tennessee in 2009. He leads the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s largest department, with over 300 full-time faculty members of both physicians and scientists. He is an endocrinologist who has devoted his career to research and patient care, focusing on treating adults with diabetes and metabolic disorders, as well as studying the biological basis of certain diabetes-related complications.
“As a renowned physician-scientist, Dr. Davis will be most suited to provide excellent clinical and scientific leadership of the Department of Medicine here at the School of Medicine,” said E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., dean of the School of Medicine, vice president for medical affairs of the University of Maryland and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor when announcing Dr. Davis' appointment. “During his 30-year career, Dr. Davis has balanced his award-winning diabetes research program with providing excellent patient care, while excelling at various leadership roles within his institution and in the international medical community at large. His career is the embodiment of the mission of the University of Maryland School of Medicine — to combine world class patient care with top-tier cutting-edge scientific research. We are very pleased that Dr. Davis will lead our Department of Medicine,” says Dean Reece.
The Department of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine has a rich history, having been created at the school’s founding 202 years ago. Dr. Davis is only the 14th chairman to lead this nationally recognized department. The department is responsible for training 145 residents and 77 fellows. It has been very successful scientifically and currently receives almost $150 million in annual extramural research funding to support its comprehensive laboratory and clinical research programs.
The department includes 11 divisions and one specialized program: Cardiovascular Medicine; Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition; Gastroenterology and Hepatology; General Internal Medicine; Geographic Medicine; Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine; Hematology/Oncology; Infectious Diseases; Nephrology; Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine; Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology; and the Occupational Health Program. The Department of Medicine has a global reach, with research programs in many countries, and in regions such as South America and Africa.
A native of the United Kingdom, Dr. Davis earned his medical degree from London University and did his specialty training at the Royal College of Physicians. Dr. Davis joined Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 1988, where he was eventually promoted to Director of the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, and professor of medicine, molecular physiology and biophysics. Most recently, he also served as associate director of the General Clinical Research Center at Vanderbilt, and for five years, ending in 2002, he was director of the Nashville Veterans Affairs/Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International Research and Training Center.
He has been recognized with many distinguished awards throughout his career, including the Novartis Award for Diabetes Research in 2000 - considered to be the highest honor in that field of research. He was named a Fellow of the American College of Physicians in 2009, a Fellow of the American College of Endocrinologists in 2008 and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in 2001.
Dr. Davis currently leads research projects with extramural funding totaling $10 million. His research focuses on the mechanisms that defend against a falling blood glucose level, a condition known as hypoglycemia. “Hypoglycemia is the complication of diabetes that patients fear most,” explains Dr. Davis. “Complications that can be associated with diabetes include blindness, kidney failure and even coma or death.” Some diabetics suffer from frequent episodes of hypoglycemia, even as often as several times each week.
Dr. Davis’s laboratory has found areas in the brain that act to blunt the body’s ability to protect itself against hypoglycemia. Each episode of hypoglycemia triggers these areas of the brain to send out signals that make it more difficult for the body to defend itself against subsequent episodes of low glucose levels in the blood. Dr. Davis also has identified promising new treatments and interventions that counteract these mechanisms and stimulate the body’s ability to defend itself against hypoglycemia. He also explores the mechanisms that cause increased heart attacks and strokes in diabetic patients, most of whom (65 percent) die from such events.
Dr. Davis is the author of more than 110 peer-reviewed articles and 50 textbook chapters and review articles.
“I am honored by the opportunity to take on this leadership role at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, an institution with a distinguished history, including being the first public medical school in the U.S.,” says Dr. Davis. “I am also very pleased to be succeeding Dr. Frank Calia who has been an outstanding leader of this department, which has flourished on his watch. I hope to continue that momentum. I am looking forward to leading the Department of Medicine into a new, dynamic era of research and patient care defined by cutting-edge discoveries in emerging areas of science including genomics, stem cell biology and metabolic disorders.”
Correspondence to the Chairman's Office should be sent to the Department of Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, 22 S. Greene Street, Room N3W42, Baltimore, MD 21201. The office can be reached by phone at (410) 328-2488 or by fax at (410) 328-8688.