Adam Marcus, PhD



Dr. Marcus is a recognized national leader in the research and understanding of how cancer cells invade and metastasize.

Titles and Roles

Winship 5K Research Professor, Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology
Emory University School of Medicine
Deputy Director
Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
Associate Vice President for Research
Woodruff Health Sciences Center
Interim Associate Dean for Novel Technology and Research Cores
Emory University School of Medicine
Scientific Director, Integrated Cellular Imaging Core
Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
Research Program
Cell and Molecular Biology


Adam Marcus, PhD, is Winship 5K Research Professor in the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Marcus serves as Deputy Director for Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, leading the integration of the research, clinical, and educational components within Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University. He previously served as Associate Director of Basic Research and Shared Resources, and in 2021 served as Interim Executive Director of Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University. He has been providing senior leadership oversight of the current Cancer Center Support Grant (CCSG) planning process and contributed to Winship's successful CCSG submissions in 2011 and 2016.

Dr. Marcus also serves as Associate Vice President for Research in Emory University's Woodruff Health Sciences Center, and as Interim Associate Dean for Novel Technology and Research Cores leading the Emory Integrated Core Facilities and Division of Animal Resources. He provides strategic and operational oversight as well as scientific direction for the Emory Integrated Core Facilities, in partnership with Emory University School of Medicine and Woodruff Health Sciences Center leadership.

Dr. Marcus is also Scientific Director of the Emory Integrated Cell Imaging Core (ICI), a jointly managed shared resource of 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. He is a national leader in understanding how cancer cells invade and metastasize and how to apply this knowledge in developing new therapeutic strategies.

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 seeks to increase underrepresented minority participation in STEM, with a focus on middle-school students.

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. Marcus 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 focuses on how cancer cells cooperate during invasion and metastasis. He has developed a new image-guided genomics platform to precisely isolate any living cell(s) of interest for functional genomic analysis, a technique termed Spatiotemporal Cellular and Genomic Analysis. This work in lung, breast, and melanoma has led to an understanding of how differential sub-populations within a tumor contribute to metastasis. He is now developing several small molecular inhibitors that seek to target these highly invasive tumor sub-populations.

His work is also 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' 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:

  • Emory 1% Award
  • 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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