Adam Marcus, PhD


In 2014, Dr. Marcus' gave a TEDx talk on how the future of personalized medicine in cancer care is already here today.

Titles and Roles

Associate Professor, Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology
Emory University School of Medicine
Director, Integrated Cellular Imaging Shared Resource
Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
Research Program
Cancer Cell Biology


In 2006, Dr. Marcus became an Assistant Professor at the Winship Cancer Institute and developed his own laboratory which focuses on cell biology and pharmacology in lung and breast cancer. Dr. Marcus was named a Georgia Cancer Coalition Scholar. He is Director of the Emory Integrated Cell Imaging Core (ICI), a jointly managed shared resource of the Winship Cancer Institute and Emory University School of Medicine. The ICI provides cellular imaging technology, services, and expertise to support the research initiatives of the Winship Cancer Institute.

Dr. Marcus also directs an educational outreach program Students for Science with the goal of providing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Dr. Marcus' laboratory has been funded by the NCI, NCCAM, ACS, and private donations.


Dr. Adam received his PhD in Biology from Penn State University in 2002 and went on to do a post-doctoral fellowship in cancer pharmacology at Emory University in the laboratory of Dr. Paraskevi Giannakakou from 2002 to 2004.


Dr. Marcus' laboratory studies how cancer cells invade and metastasize using a combination of molecular and imaging-based approaches. His work is focused on the lung cancer tumor suppressor protein and epithelial signaling protein, LKB1. This serine/threonine kinase is mutated in 30% of patients with non-small cell lung cancer; however, the functional significance of LKB1 loss in lung cancer is unknown. His group has shown that LKB1 plays a central role in cancer cell migration by behaving as a dynamic, actin-associated protein that regulates the cell polarity and adhesion pathway. Currently his work is focused on understanding how LKB1 mutations impact metastasis in mouse models and use this information to develop new treatments that can be specific for LKB1-inactivated tumors.

Dr. Marcus also focuses on developing natural compounds that preclude breast cancer cell metastasis and have minimal toxicity to normal cells. This work has identified the natural compound Withaferin A and its root extract as a potential anti-metastatic agent in breast cancer. A Phase 0 trial is currently under development using the root extract. His team envisions that this agent can be used in high-risk metastatic patients and/or combined with traditional cytotoxics to inhibit both metastasis and tumor growth.

Lastly, Dr. Marcus leads the science education outreach program, Students for Science. The goals of this program are to use STEM-based initiatives in K-12 classrooms to stimulate critical thinking and enthusiasm for the sciences. This program has visited over 35 schools, 150 classrooms, and 2000 students.



Recent awards for Dr. Marcus' include:

  • National Lung Cancer Partnership Career Development Award
  • Elsa J. Pardee Foundation Award
  • American Cancer Society Research Scholar Award
  • Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Scholar
  • Fund for Innovative Teaching Award
  • Chair's Award for All Around Achievement
  • Friends of Winship Scholar

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