Mark E. Davis
BornOctober 14, 1955[1]
Alma materUniversity of Kentucky
Known forMolecular sieves, Drug delivery
AwardsPrincess of Asturias Award (2014)
E. V. Murphree Award (2005)
Scientific career
FieldsChemical Engineering
InstitutionsCalifornia Institute of Technology
Doctoral advisorJohn Yamanis

Mark E. Davis is the Warren and Katherine Schlinger Professor of Chemical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology. He is a member of the City of Hope National Medical Center. He earned his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in chemical engineering all from the University of Kentucky. His lab focuses on the synthesis of materials for catalysis and biocompatible materials for drug delivery.[2]

Davis was elected as a member into the National Academy of Engineering in 1997, for pioneering work in the synthesis of new catalytic materials.


He did his doctoral work with John Yamanis on reactions engineering with annular bed reactors. His academic career started as an assistant professor at Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University in 1981 and rose until becoming the Charles O. Gordon Professor of Chemical engineering in 1990. During his time at Virginia Tech, he developed some of the earlier Zeolite molecular sieves and increasing the pore size.[3][4] In 1991, he joined the faculty of the California Institute of Technology and served as the Executive Officer of the department from 1999 to 2004. In 2004 he joined the City of Hope National Medical Center, Comprehensive Cancer Center.[5]

In 1995, his wife, Mary, was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to go through chemotherapy. Having seen the side effects of cancer treatment, he decided to do research on molecules that would prevent drug from leaking through healthy blood vessels but would stop at the tumor. His group conjugated cyclodextrin to the anti-cancer compound camptothecin to improve the bio-availability and exhibit efficacy in mouse tumor models.[6] The compound, CRLX101 is now being tested in clinical trials.[7] The cyclodextrin nanoparticles are also being used to encapsulate siRNA.

He was the recipient of the Alan T. Waterman Award in 1990. In 1997, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, in 2006, to the National Academy of Sciences, and in 2011, the National Academy of Medicine.[8] He is also the founder of Insert Therapeutics and Calando Pharmaceuticals.


Mark was born in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, as the son of teachers of history and English.[5] Mark Davis is an accomplished athlete and was on a full scholarship in track and field at the University of Kentucky. He is the 400-Meter World Champion for the 55–59 division. He was also part of the USA 4x100 and 4x400 meter teams.[9] He met his wife Mary while a professor at Virginia Tech.[7] She was an accomplished flautist before being diagnosed with breast cancer.[5]


  1. ^ "Avelino Corma Canós, Mark E. Davis and Galen D. Stucky, Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research - Communication".
  2. ^ "Mark E. Davis". Caltech. Archived from the original on 14 April 2019. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
  3. ^ Arhancet, Juan P.; Davis, Mark E.; Merola, Joseph S.; Hanson, Brian E. (8 June 1989). "Hydroformylation by supported aqueous-phase catalysis: a new class of heterogeneous catalysts". Nature. 339 (6224): 454–455. Bibcode:1989Natur.339..454A. doi:10.1038/339454a0. S2CID 34932513.
  4. ^ Davis, Mark E.; Saldarriaga, Carlos; Montes, Consuelo; Garces, Juan; Crowdert, Cyrus (25 February 1988). "A molecular sieve with eighteen-membered rings". Nature. 331 (6158): 698–699. Bibcode:1988Natur.331..698D. doi:10.1038/331698a0. S2CID 26623258.
  5. ^ a b c Ahmed, F (Dec 26, 2007). "Profile of Mark E. Davis". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 104 (52): 20651–3. Bibcode:2007PNAS..10420651A. doi:10.1073/pnas.0704959105. PMC 2409208. PMID 18093958.
  6. ^ Schluep, T. (1 March 2006). "Preclinical Efficacy of the Camptothecin-Polymer Conjugate IT-101 in Multiple Cancer Models". Clinical Cancer Research. 12 (5): 1606–1614. doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-05-1566. PMID 16533788.
  7. ^ a b Gellene, Denise (11 August 2007). "Science begins at home". LA Times. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
  8. ^ "Professor Mark E Davis".
  9. ^ Fesenmaier, Kimm (28 July 2011). "Caltech Professor Runs to Victories on the World Stage". Caltech News. Retrieved 7 April 2013.