Myrtle Davis - Bristol Myers Squibb Featured Researcher
Myrtle Davis, DVM, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Discovery Toxicology
Central New Jersey
Myrtle Davis serves as executive director of Discovery Toxicology. In this role, Myrtle and her team are responsible for characterizing and understanding the toxicity profiles of investigational molecules in the Bristol Myers Squibb pipeline. Myrtle’s goal is to be able to provide a better understanding around the safety profiles of these potential therapies, in order to help researchers better determine appropriate dosing and support eventual approval of critical therapies for patients in need.
“Toxicology, or ‘tox’ as toxicologists like to call it, is all about finding and maintaining balance,” she said. “Our ultimate goal is to help discover therapies that have the best possible safety profiles but are also efficacious for patients with serious diseases.”
Myrtle’s passion for discovering treatment options, especially for diseases like cancer, has led her across the healthcare industry. Prior to joining Bristol Myers Squibb, Myrtle spent time at Eli Lilly, as well as the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health. Myrtle earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry and her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from Tuskegee University. She went on to earn her Ph.D. in toxicology from the University of Illinois and completed her postdoctoral training in toxicologic pathology at the University of Maryland, where she also spent time as an associate professor in the Department of Pathology.
Interests and Expertise
Pursuing a career in science and the ability to help others had always been part of Myrtle’s plan, though her first love of medicine was in the treatment of animals, not humans. However, after exploring research prior to and during veterinarian school, Myrtle soon found herself on a track to explore biomedical research instead, and soon thereafter, toxicology.
“I was drawn to toxicology because it offered me the ability to explore science, and put all different kinds of tools to use,” she said. “It was a marriage of my passions: math, chemistry and problem solving.”
Myrtle was elected to serve as president of the Society of Toxicology in 2021, after having served in several other positions within the organization. When Myrtle isn’t busy exploring all things “tox” she enjoys spending time with her family, including her husband, teenage son and two cats, listening to podcasts and reading books. For Myrtle, listening and learning about others’ experiences is crucial to understanding the world we live in.