Michael A. Davies, MD, PhD
Year elected: 2016
Current membership category: Active
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
1515 Holcombe Blvd
Houston, TX 77030
United States of America
Dr. Davies is a physician-scientist whose research utilizes integrated approaches to study the regulation and clinical significance of oncogenic signaling networks in cancer, with a particular focus on the role of the PI3K-AKT pathway. During his training, he helped to reveal the key role of the PTEN tumor suppressor as a negative regulator of PI3K-AKT activation, and he subsequently identified novel activating mutations in AKT isoforms in melanoma. His subsequent work demonstrated a key role for this pathway in the development and pathogenesis of melanoma brain metastases, which are one most common and lethal complications of this disease. The importance of the pathway in melanoma was reinforced by his work demonstrating that both constitutive and compensatory activation of the pathway can mediate resistance to FDA-approved targeted therapies, including through novel regulation of cellular metabolism. Most recently, Dr. Davies and his collaborators have identified a novel role for the PI3K-AKT pathway in resistance to immunotherapy, including adoptive T-cell therapy and checkpoint inhibitors. In addition to his laboratory research, Dr. Davies has been the principal investigator of clinical trials of both targeted therapy and immunotherapy clinical trials for patients with metastatic melanoma, and has led associated translational research efforts. He is also the principal investigator of individual and team science peer-reviewed grants from several organizations, including the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the Melanoma Research Alliance, and the Melanoma Research Foundation.