Dr. Davidson received her Ph.D. in biological chemistry from the University of Michigan and in 1994 was recruited to the University of Iowa, where she was promoted to associate professor in 1999 and professor in 2001. From 1999–2014 she held the Roy J. Carver Chair in Biomedical Research, and was named vice chair for Research, Internal Medicine from 2004–2014. Professor Davidson’s research is focused on inherited brain disorders and the development of novel therapies to treat these fatal diseases.
In 2007, she was named a Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, received a University of Iowa Regents Award for Faculty Excellence and was named a University of Iowa Carver Research Program of Excellence (through 2014). In 2008 she was an Iowa Women of Innovation Nominee for Research Innovation and Leadership. In 2009, Dr. Davidson received the Mathilde Solowey Award, NIH, and was named a Member, Electorate Nominating Committee, Medical Sciences, AAAS. In 2011, Dr. Davidson was the S.J. Armond Lecturer for the AANP, and the University of Iowa Presidential Lecturer. In 2012 she received the Carver College of Medicine Faculty Service Award, along with the University of Iowa Innovator Award. In 2012 she was elected to the Advisory Council for the ASGCT, and in 2014 she was voted chair, Medical Sciences Committee, for the AAAS. She has served as co-chair of the TAG study section (NIH) and co-chair of the Editors Panel, Transformative Award Review Committee from the Office of the Director (NIH), and in 2014 was asked to serve on the Blue Ribbon Panel Review. In 2014 she was appointed to the National Advisory Council of the NINDS. In 2015 Dr. Davidson was appointed a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Huntington Study Group and the Medical Research Advisory Board of the National Ataxia Foundation.
Dr. Davidson is a co-founder of Spark Therapeutics Inc., a gene therapy company, and is on the advisory board of several biotechnology companies.