Beverly L. Davidson, PhD

Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Professor of Genetics
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania 
Chief Scientific Strategy Officer at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Director, Raymond G. Perelman Center for Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics
Arthur V. Meigs Chair in Pediatrics at CHOP

Contact InformationChildren's Hospital of Philadelphia
3501 Civic Center Boulevard, 5060 CTRB
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Office: 267-426-0929
Fax: 215-590-3660


Research Expertise

Neurodegenerative Disease
RNA biology
Gene therapy
Animal models
Human treatment

Research in the Davidson Laboratory is focused on inherited genetic diseases that cause central nervous system dysfunction, with a focus on:

i) recessive, childhood onset neurodegenerative disease, such as the lysosomal storage diseases mucopolysaccharidoses and Battens disease;
ii) dominant genetic diseases, specifically the CAG repeat disorders, Huntington’s disease and spinal cerebellar ataxia;
iii) understanding how changes in the transcriptome impact neural development and neurodegenerative disease processes.

Our research on childhood onset neurodegenerative diseases is focused on experiments to better understand the biochemistry and cell biology of proteins deficient in these disorders, and to develop small molecule or gene therapy based strategies for therapy. In recent work, we demonstrated that the application of recombinant viral vectors to various models of storage disease reversed CNS deficits and improved life span. We continue to develop novel vector systems to improve therapeutic outcomes.

Therapies for dominant disorders are an exciting challenge and require that the dominant disease allele be silenced. To approach this, we developed reagents for expressing inhibitory RNAs or editing machinery (e.g., CrispR/Cas9 approaches) in vivo to improve disease phenotypes in relevant animal models.

Finally, we investigate how the transcriptome is altered in neurological diseases. Evaluation of splicing changes has led us to discover novel players in disease pathogenesis that include noncoding RNAs and RNA binding proteins. This work is revealing new pathways of pathogenesis and novel targets for therapy.


B.S. (Biology Major/Chemistry Minor; High Distinction), Nebraska Wesleyan University, 1981
Ph.D. (Biological Chemistry), University of Michigan, 1987

Specialty Certification

Postgraduate Training

Research Assistant, University of Nebraska, Nebraska, 1982-1983
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Michigan, Michigan, 1988-1988
Research Investigator, University of Michigan, Michigan, 1990-1992
Assistant Research Scientist, University of Michigan, Michigan, 1992-1994

Awards and Honors

President Scholarship Award, 1977-1981
Beta Beta Beta Biology Honorary Society, 1979
Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, 1980
VI International Symposium on Human Purine and Pyrimidine Metabolism, 1988
Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2006
Carver Research Program of Excellence, University of Iowa, 2007-2014
Regents Faculty Excellence Award, 2007
Eureka Award, National Institutes of Health, 2008
Mathilde Solowey Award, National Institutes of Health, 2008
Distinguished Graduate Lecture, University of Michigan Dept of
Biological Chemistry, Ann Arbor, MI, 2011
SJ DeArmond Lecture, American Association of Neuropathologists, 2011
Innovator Award, University of Iowa, 2012
Inventor Award, University of Iowa, 2013
Arthur V. Meigs Chair in Pediatrics, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, 2014-Present
Recipient, The Leslie Gehry Prize for Innovation in Science, Hereditary Disease Foundation, 2015
Member, International Selection Committee, 2018 Bower Award for Achievement in Science, The Franklin Institute, 2017-2018
Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2017
FE Bennett Memorial Lectureship Award, American Neurological Association, 2018
Member, National Academy of Medicine, 2019
President, American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy, 2021-2022
Safadi Lecturer, Safadi Program of Excellence in Clinical and Translational Neuroscience, University of Chicago, 2022
Katherine A. High Chair in Cell and Gene Therapy, 2022

Memberships and Professional Organizations

NIH Study Sections, 1995 - Present
NIH/NICHD, 1995 - 1999
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 1995 - Present
National Gene Vector Laboratory, 1996 - 2007
American Society for Gene and Cell Therapy, 1997 - Present
Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association, 2000 - 2003
Hunters Hope, 2000 - 2002
Batten Disease Support & Research Association (BDSRA), 2000 - Present
Oxford Biomedica Inc, 2001 - 2006
TIGEM, 2002 - 2002
Sirna Therapeutics, 2004 - 2007
Sirna Therapeutics, 2006 - 2008
TIGEM, 2006 - 2006
Hereditary Disease Foundation, 2006 - 2009
Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins, 2007 - Present
TIGEM, 2007 - 2007
Comitato Telethon Fondazione, 2007 - 2010
Centre de Genomica Regulacio, Barcelona Spain, 2007 - Present
Oregon National Primate Research Center, 2008 - Present
NCL Foundation, Hamburg, Germany, 2008 - Present
TIGEM, 2008 - 2008
Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Center, 2008 - 2011
AAAS, 2009 - 2012
Basal Ganglia Disorders Linnaeus Consortium, Lund, Sweden, 2009 - 2014
MDRNA, 2009 - 2010
TIGEM, 2009 - Present
UMass, 2009 - Present
Marina Biotech, 2010 - 2012
Comitato Telethon Fondazione, 2010 - 2011
TIGEM, 2011 - 2011
NIH, 2011 - 2016
Hereditary Disease Foundation, 2012 - 2015
nLIFE, 2012 - Present
NIH Common Fund, 2013 - Present
NIH/NINDS, 2014 - Present
Spark Therapeutics Inc., 2014 - 2019
Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, 2014 - 2015
TIGEM, 2014 - 2014
NIH/NINDS, 2014 - 2014
NIH Common Fund, 2014 - Present
Sarepta Therapeutics, Cambridge, A, 2015 - 2020
American Society of Human Genetics, 2015 - Present
European Commission, 2015 - Present
Huntington Study Group, 2015 - 2018
National Ataxia Foundation, 2015 - Present
Intrathecal Administration of scAAV9/Jet-GAN for the Treatment of Giant Axonal Neuropathy (NIH Sponsored), 2015 - Present
NIH/NINDS, 2016 - 2016
Friends of Telethon, Italia, 2016 - Present
NIH/NINDS, 2016 - 2016
Intellia Therapeutics, 2016 - 2020
Johns Hopkins University, 2017 - 2020
Franklin Institute Awards, 2017 - 2018
Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2017 - Present
Anhui IsoTex (Yun Tai) Biotech, Inc., 2017 - 2018
STXBP1 Foundation, 2017 - Present
The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, 2018 - Present
Spirovant, 2018 - Present
American Society of Human Genetics, 2018 - Present
Prevail Therapeutics, 2018 - 2020
Member, TASAP, Pfizer, 2019 - 2020
Panorama Medicine, Inc., 2019 - Present
Homology Medicines, Inc., 2019 - Present
Elected to National Academy of Medicine, 2019 - Present
Voyager Therapeutics, 2020 - Present
Moment Bio, 2020 - Present
Patch Bio, 2020 - Present
Saliogen Therapeutics, 2020 - Present
Fondazione Telethon, 2022 - Present

Web Links

Selected Publications

Evaluating the State of the Science for Adeno-Associated Virus (AAV) Integration:An Integrated Perspective

Sabatino DE,, Bushman FD (Chair), Chandler RJ, Crystal RG, Davidson BL, Dolmetsch R, Eggan KC, Gao G, Gil-Farina I, Kay MA, McCarty DM, Montini E, Ndu A, Yuan J, Mol Ther S1525-0016(22)00364-1(): , 2022, PMID:35690906

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Gene-based therapeutics for rare genetic neurodevelopmental psychiatric disorders

Davidson BL, Gao G, Berry-Kravis E, Bradbury A, Bonnemann C, Buxbaum JD, Corcoran GR, Gray SJ, Gray-Edwards H, Kleiman RJ, Shaywitz A, Wang D, Zoghbi HY, Flotte TR, Tauscher-Wisniewski S, Tifft CF, Sahin M; Gene Therapy Workship Faculty, Mol Ther, 2022, PMID:35585789

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Long read nanopore sequencing reveals outcomes of AAV-CRISPR editing in the brain of transgenic mouse models

Simpson BP, Yrigollen CM, Ranum PT, Davidson BL, Presented at the 25th annual meeting of the American Society for Gene and Cell Therapy, 2022

Temporal phenotypic changes in HD models for preclinical studies

St-cyr S, Smith AR, Davidson BL, Presented at the 25th annual meeting of the American Society for Gene and Cell Therapy, 2022

Evolved AAV capsids for gene therapy of CLN2 disease

Tecedor L, Chen YH, Ranum PT, Keiser MS, Leib D, Cheng C, Lysenko E, Davidson BL, Presented at the 25th annual meeting of the American Society for Gene and Cell Therapy, 2022

Combined over expression of hATXN1L and mutant ATXN1 knockdown rescues motor phenotypes and disease-related gene expression changes in B05 mice

Robbins AB, Carrell EM, Keiser MS, Davidson BL, Presented at the 25th annual meeting of the American Society for Gene and Cell Therapy, Washington, DC, 2022

Disease-responsive therapy for the treatment of myotonic dystrophy

Carrell EM, Carrell ST, Davidson BL, Presented at the 25th annual meeting of the American Society for Gene and Cell Therapy, 2022

Gene editing strategies to treat spinocerebellar ataxia type 1

Fagan K, Keiser M, Davidson B, Presented at the 25th annual meeting of the Society for Cell and Gene Therapy, Washington DC, 2022

Development of a stable cell line and downstream process for improved titer of GP64-pseudotyped lentivurus particle

Arora S, Vu A, Kulhankova K, Weaver M, Excoffon K, Liu X, vanderLoo JC, McCray PB, Davidson BL, Presented at the 25th annual meeting of the American Society for Gene and Cell Therapy, Washington, DC, 2022

The molecular and behavioral phenotypes altered in CGG knock-in mice edited using CRISPR

Yrigollen CM, Simpson B, Lim E, Chen YH, Davidson B, Presented at the 25th annual meeting of the American Society for Gene and Cell Therapy, Washington, DC, 2022