Adam Marcus, PhD



Dr. Marcus is a national leader in understanding how cancer cells invade and metastasize and how to apply this knowledge in developing new therapeutic strategies.

Titles and Roles

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


Adam Marcus, PhD, is Professor in the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Marcus serves as Associate Director of Basic Research and Shared Resources for Winship Cancer Institute. In this role, he provides oversight and direction for the development and growth of Winship's shared resources and its basic scientific activities across all of Winship's four research programs. He is also Scientific 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. In 2006, Dr. Marcus joined the faculty at Winship Cancer Institute and developed his own laboratory which focuses on cell biology and pharmacology in lung and breast cancer.

Dr. Marcus is leading the effort to stimulate critical thinking and enthusiasm for sciences in children, kindergarten through 12th grade, in the state of Georgia. Along with Theresa Gillespie, PhD, he received a $1.2 million R25 Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) from the National Institutes of Health in 2016. The grant led to the creation of the Center for Advancing Health and Diversity through Citizen Science where he serves as co-director.

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


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.

Dr. Marcus' laboratory has been funded by National Cancer Institute, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, American Cancer Society, and private donations.


  • PublicationsPublication Date


Recent awards and honors for Dr. Marcus' include:

  • Innovation of the Year Award (2019), Emory Office of Technology Transfer
  • 40 Under 40 Award, Atlanta Business Chronicle
  • Faculty Mentor of the Year Award (2016), Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Laney Graduate School
  • 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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