Assistant Professor
Ph.D. (2003) University of Georgia
Office Hours: 
By Appointment

Research Interests: Breast Cancer Subtype Etiology, Cancer Immunology and Cancer Health Disparities

Cancer is a complex disease that in many ways can be considered a disease of the genome, a consequential combination of both environmental variables as well as genetic/epigenetic factors. Specifically, breast cancer among women exhibits a wide range of biological diversity that ultimately results in disparate survival outcomes between patient ethnic groups. Not only are young African American women 25% more likely to develop breast cancer, they are 50% more likely to die from the disease. Disparities in the case of prostate cancer are even more profound with an 80% increase in mortality for young African American men. Epidemiological evidence indicates these outcome disparities correspond to pathological characteristics of the tumors. Our research interests include identification of molecular mechanisms underlying the biological diversity in tumor types and how these correspond with genetic ancestry and survival disparities. Ultimately, we aim to investigate both the exogenous and endogenous factors influencing mortality and/or the plasticity observed in tumor characteristics. Epigenetic mechanisms may explain cultural differences in cancer incidence as they are directly influenced by environmental cues and are increasingly implicated in tumor etiology. Utilizing a plethora of functional genomics techniques we measure epigenetic variations on a genome level, including identification of ancestrally conserved chromatin marks (so-called transgenerational epigenetic imprinting) that influence tumorgenesis and predisposition. By correlating these findings with tumor types and other culturally relevant patient characteristics (socio-cultural determinants) we will effectively identify not only cancer specific epigenetic marks but also identify population level ancestrally informative (conserved) chromatin structures which may ultimately influence gene activity potential and tumor susceptibility among ethnic groups and/or social environments. Through the MCG/UGA Medical Partnership we will foster novel connections and research collaborations with the medical community and hospital systems here in Athens for our research endeavors. In addition, as the MCG/UGA partnership establishes its clinical training facilities and premier research programs we will inherently develop an innovative medical education curriculum, including greater emphasis on translational medicine and evidence-based teaching strategies.

Curriculum Vitae: 
Selected Publications: 
  • Davis MB, Li T. Genomic analysis of the ecdysone steroid signal at metamorphosis onset using ecdysoneless and EcRnull Drosophila melanogaster mutants. Genes Genomics. 2013 Feb;35(1):21-46. Epub 2013 Feb 5. PubMed PMID: 23482860; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3585846./li>
  • Davis, M.B., I. SanGil, G. Berry, R. Olayokun and L.H. Neves. 2011. Identification of common and cell type specific LXXLL motif EcR cofactors using a bioinformatics refined candidate RNAi screen in Drosophila melanogaster cell lines. BMC Dev Biol. Nov 3;11:66. PMID: 22050674 [PubMed - in process]
  • Hill Neves, L.A., L. Ingram and M.B. Davis. 2011. The characterization of cell line crl-2335 as a Basal-like breast carcinoma model. Breast Cancer (Auckl). 2011;5:67-72. Epub 2011 Apr 27. PMID: 21603256 [PubMed]
  • N�gre, N., C.D. Brown, L. Ma, C.A. Bristow, S.W. Miller, U. Wagner, P. Kheradpour, M.L. Eaton, P. Loriaux, R. Sealfon, Z. Li, H. Ishii, R.F. Spokony, J. Chen, L. Hwang, C. Cheng, R.P. Auburn, M.B. Davis, M. Domanus, P.K. Shah, C.A. Morrison, J. Zieba, S. Suchy, L. Senderowicz, A. Victorsen, N.A. Bild, A.J. Grundstad, D. Hanley, D.M. MacAlpine, M. Mannervik, K. Venken, H. Bellen, R. White, M. Gerstein, S. Russell, R.L. Grossman, B. Ren, J.W. Posakony, M. Kellis, and K.P. White. 2011. A cis-regulatory map of the Drosophila genome. Nature Mar 24;471(7339):527-31. PMID: 21430782 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
  • Reams, R.R., D. Agrawal, M.B. Davis, S. Yoder, F.T. Odedina, N. Kumar, J.M. Higginbotham, T. Akinremi, S. Suther and K.F.A. Soliman. 2009. Microarray comparison of prostate tumor gene expression in African-American and Caucasian American males: a pilot project study. Infectious Agents and Cancer 4 (Suppl 1): S3.
  • Davis, M., G. Carney, A. Robertson and M. Bender. 2005. Phenotypic analysis of EcR-A mutants suggests that EcR isoforms have unique functions during Drosophila development. Developmental Biology 282: 385-396.
  • Carney, G., A. Robertson, M. Davis and M. Bender. 2004. Creation of EcR isoform-specific mutations in Drosophila melanogaster via local P element transposition, imprecise P element excision, and male recombination. Molecular Genetics and Genomics 271: 282-290.
Research Interests Detail: 

Translational research in medical oncology, basic science studies of tumor biology/immunology, environmental risk factors and medical education. We are in pursuit of the molecular mechanisms underlying the biological diversity in tumor types, how the plasticity of these mechanisms correspond with (African) genetic ancestry and survival disparities, how immunological factors influence mortality and microenvironments of tumors. We are investigating how epigenetic regulation of cancer genes are altered by lifelong environmental exposures

Spotlight text: 

Through the MCG/UGA Medical Partnership, Dr. Davis is fostering novel connections and research collaborations with the medical community and hospital systems here in Athens for research endeavors.