Dr. Michael Davidson, Who Studied Infectious Illness, Dies at 77

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Dr. Michael Davidson, Who Studied Infectious Disease, Dies at 77

He was seriously injured in a bicycle accident shortly after moving to New Jersey to take a new job leading an H.I.V./AIDS research team for Roche Pharmaceuticals.

"He had two real loves in life, the outdoors and cooking," said Dr. Sprott in an interview. Dr. Davidson honed his culinary skills by trying every recipe in the 24-volume collection of “Time-Life Foods of the World” cookbooks.

For the past 10 years, he has required home care around the clock. "He drove his aides crazy and told them how to cook, but they could never do it like him," said Dr. Sprott. As a lover of jazz and blues, Dr. Davidson saxophone.

Michael Davidson was born on April 8, 1943 in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, outside of Pittsburgh, to Peter and Selma Davidson, who owned a men's clothing store in Greensburg and later in Meadville, northwest Pennsylvania, where Dr. Davidson grew up. His older sister Paula, a nurse, died at a young age.

He graduated from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with a degree in biology in 1965, and received his medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh Medical School in 1969. He spent a summer in medical school on a Navajo reservation studying the high prevalence of gallstones among people there, said Dr. Thomas Welty, a friend and classmate from the medical school. The experience inspired Dr. Davidson working with indigenous people in Alaska, he said.

Dr. Davidson trained as an internist at George Washington and Georgetown Universities and received an Infectious Disease Fellowship from the University of New Mexico, where he later taught while running a private practice in internal medicine. He earned a Masters in Public Health in 1983 and a PhD in Clinical Epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University in 1999. He also taught on the University of Alaska's biomedical program.

Dr. Davidson had no immediate survivors.

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