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Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy
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Alexander Marson, MD, PhD

Director, Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at Gladstone Institutes; Director, Gladstone-UCSF Institute of Genomic Immunology; Senior Investigator, Gladstone Institutes; Associate Professor, Departments of Medicine and Microbiology and Immunology, UCSF


Alexander Marson, MD, PhD, is director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at Gladstone Institutes and of the Gladstone-UCSF Institute of Genomic Immunology. He also is a senior investigator at Gladstone Institutes, and an associate professor in the Departments of Medicine and Microbiology and Immunology at the University of California, San Francisco.

Marson’s group employs integrative CRISPR-based genome editing and genomics approaches to decode the genetic programs governing T cell identity and function. They study the molecular circuitry that governs the differentiation of both pro-inflammatory and regulatory T cells, and systematically study the ways in which either genetic perturbations affecting this circuitry or the addition of synthetic genes can improve the anti-tumor activity of cytotoxic T cells. They aim to leverage this understanding of the genetic blueprint controlling immune cells toward improving the design of genetically reprogrammed cell-based therapies to treat cancer.

Marson completed his undergraduate studies at Harvard University, and earned an MPhil in biological sciences from Cambridge. He earned his PhD at Whitehead Institute at MIT, where he worked with mentors Rick Young and Rudolf Jaenisch on transcriptional control of regulatory T cells and embryonic stem cells.

After completing his MD at Harvard Medical School and an internship and residency at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Marson joined UCSF in 2012 to complete clinical work as an infectious diseases fellow. He started his lab as a Sandler Faculty Fellow, before joining the faculty at UCSF and becoming scientific director of biomedicine at the Innovative Genomics Institute. In 2020, he launched the Gladstone-UCSF Institute of Genomic Immunology, bringing together genomics and immunology to develop next-generation cell therapies.

Education & Training

  • 2016: UCSF Medical Center, Research Fellow in UCSF Sandler Fellows Program, Clinical Fellow in Division of Infectious Diseases
  • 2012: Brigham and Women's Hospital, Intern and Resident, Department of Internal Medicine
  • 2010: Harvard Medical School, MD, PhD
  • 2008: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, PhD, Biology
  • 2002: University of Cambridge, MPhil, Biology

Awards & Honors

  • 2019: Lloyd J. Old STAR Award, Cancer Research Institute
  • 2017: Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Investigator
  • 2016: American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI) Young Physician-Scientist Award
  • 2016: Burroughs Wellcome Foundation Career Award for Medical Scientists
  • 2016: NIDA/NIH Avenir New Innovator Award