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Adam Marcus, PhD

Associate Professor
Emory School of Medicine

Adam Marcus received his PhD in cell biology from Penn State University in 2002 and went on to do a post-doctoral fellowship in cancer pharmacology at Emory University. 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 and was also appointed Director of the Winship Cancer Institute Cell Imaging and Microscopy Core. Dr. Marcus’s laboratory is funded by the NCI, NCCAM, ACS, and private donations.

Research Interests

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 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 canonical cdc42 cell polarity pathway. Since aberrant cell polarity is proposed to be a trigger for cancer cell invasion, these results suggest that LKB1 is an upstream regulator of both cdc42 activity and localization, and that LKB1 loss triggers aberrant lung cancer cell polarity. Dr. Marcus also focuses on developing natural compounds, therapeutic agents that preclude breast cancer cell motility 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. 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.

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View publications on PubMed