University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Alexander Marson, MD, PhD

Alexander Marson, MD, PhD

UCSF Sandler Faculty Fellow, UCSF Diabetes Center and Department of Medicine

Cancer Center Program Memberships

Cancer Immunology

Research Summary

Our group employs an integrative genomics approach to decode the genetic programs governing CD4+ T-cell sub-specialization. We study the molecular circuitry that governs differentiation of pro-inflammatory and regulatory T cells, and the ways in which mutations affecting this circuitry contribute to immune dysregulation in human disease. We aim to connect the transcriptional regulatory circuitry of T cells to human genetic studies and functional genomic screens to advance understanding of specialized CD4+ T-cell functions and potentially generate novel therapeutic strategies for immune-mediated diseases.


Harvard College, MA, A.B., 2001, Biology
Cambridge University, UK, M.Phil., 2003, Biological Sciences
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA, Ph.D., 2008, Biology
Harvard Medical School, MA, M.D., 2010, Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Residency, 2012, Internal Medicine
UC San Francisco, Fellowship, Present, Infectious Diseases

Professional Experience

  • 2001-2002
    M.Phil. Lab of Dr. Ashok Venkitaraman, University of Cambridge, UK
  • 2002-2010
    M.D./Ph.D. Student, Labs of Richard Young and Rudolf Jaenisch, Harvard /MIT
  • 2009-2010
    Research with Dr. Richard Young and Dr. David Hafler, Whitehead Institute/MIT
  • 2010-2012
    Visiting Scientist, Laboratory of Vijay Kuchroo, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  • 2010-2012
    Intern and Resident in Internal Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  • 2012
    Clinical Fellow, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, UCSF
  • 2013-present
    UCSF Sandler Faculty Fellow, Diabetes Center and Department of Medicine, UCSF
  • 2014-present
    Affiliate Member, Innovative Genomics Initiative (IGI), UC Berkeley

Honors & Awards

  • 1998
    Jacob Wendell Prize for most promising freshman scholar, Harvard College
  • 1998
    Detur Book Prize, Harvard College
  • 2000
    William and Mary Bossert Prize, Harvard College
  • 2001
    Phi Beta Kappa, Harvard College
  • 2001-2002
    Herchel Smith Harvard Scholar, Emmanuel College, Cambridge, UK
  • 2009
    Sigma Xi 2009, MIT
  • 2017
    Named to first cohort of Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Investigators

Selected Publications

  1. Rupp LJ, Schumann K, Roybal KT, Gate RE, Ye CJ, Lim WA, Marson A. CRISPR/Cas9-mediated PD-1 disruption enhances anti-tumor efficacy of human chimeric antigen receptor T cells. Sci Rep. 2017 Apr 07; 7(1):737.
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  2. Park RJ, Wang T, Koundakjian D, Hultquist JF, Lamothe-Molina P, Monel B, Schumann K, Yu H, Krupzcak KM, Garcia-Beltran W, Piechocka-Trocha A, Krogan NJ, Marson A, Sabatini DM, Lander ES, Hacohen N, Walker BD. A genome-wide CRISPR screen identifies a restricted set of HIV host dependency factors. Nat Genet. 2016 Dec 19.
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  3. Hultquist JF, Schumann K, Woo JM, Manganaro L, McGregor MJ, Doudna J, Simon V, Krogan NJ, Marson A. A Cas9 Ribonucleoprotein Platform for Functional Genetic Studies of HIV-Host Interactions in Primary Human T Cells. Cell Rep. 2016 Oct 25; 17(5):1438-1452.
    View on PubMed
  4. Van Dyken SJ, Nussbaum JC, Lee J, Molofsky AB, Liang HE, Pollack JL, Gate RE, Haliburton GE, Ye CJ, Marson A, Erle DJ, Locksley RM. A tissue checkpoint regulates type 2 immunity. Nat Immunol. 2016 Oct 17.
    View on PubMed
  5. Schumann K, Lin S, Boyer E, Simeonov DR, Subramaniam M, Gate RE, Haliburton GE, Ye CJ, Bluestone JA, Doudna JA, Marson A. Generation of knock-in primary human T cells using Cas9 ribonucleoproteins. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Aug 18; 112(33):10437-42.
    View on PubMed
  6. Marson A, Housley WJ, Hafler DA. Genetic basis of autoimmunity. J Clin Invest. 2015 Jun; 125(6):2234-41.
    View on PubMed
  7. DuPage M, Chopra G, Quiros J, Rosenthal WL, Morar MM, Holohan D, Zhang R, Turka L, Marson A, Bluestone JA. The chromatin-modifying enzyme Ezh2 is critical for the maintenance of regulatory T cell identity after activation. Immunity. 2015 Feb 17; 42(2):227-38.
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  8. Farh KK, Marson A, Zhu J, Kleinewietfeld M, Housley WJ, Beik S, Shoresh N, Whitton H, Ryan RJ, Shishkin AA, Hatan M, Carrasco-Alfonso MJ, Mayer D, Luckey CJ, Patsopoulos NA, De Jager PL, Kuchroo VK, Epstein CB, Daly MJ, Hafler DA, Bernstein BE. Genetic and epigenetic fine mapping of causal autoimmune disease variants. Nature. 2015 Feb 19; 518(7539):337-43.
    View on PubMed
  9. Kofler DM, Marson A, Dominguez-Villar M, Xiao S, Kuchroo VK, Hafler DA. Decreased RORC-dependent silencing of prostaglandin receptor EP2 induces autoimmune Th17 cells. J Clin Invest. 2014 Jun; 124(6):2513-22.
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  10. Xiao S, Yosef N, Yang J, Wang Y, Zhou L, Zhu C, Wu C, Baloglu E, Schmidt D, Ramesh R, Lobera M, Sundrud MS, Tsai PY, Xiang Z, Wang J, Xu Y, Lin X, Kretschmer K, Rahl PB, Young RA, Zhong Z, Hafler DA, Regev A, Ghosh S, Marson A, Kuchroo VK. Small-molecule ROR?t antagonists inhibit T helper 17 cell transcriptional network by divergent mechanisms. Immunity. 2014 Apr 17; 40(4):477-89.
    View on PubMed
  11. Chow FC, Marson A, Liu C. Successful medical management of a Nocardia farcinica multiloculated pontine abscess. BMJ Case Rep. 2013; 2013.
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  12. Bienvenu F, Jirawatnotai S, Elias JE, Meyer CA, Mizeracka K, Marson A, Frampton GM, Cole MF, Odom DT, Odajima J, Geng Y, Zagozdzon A, Jecrois M, Young RA, Liu XS, Cepko CL, Gygi SP, Sicinski P. Transcriptional role of cyclin D1 in development revealed by a genetic-proteomic screen. Nature. 2010 Jan 21; 463(7279):374-8.
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  13. Marson A, Levine SS, Cole MF, Frampton GM, Brambrink T, Johnstone S, Guenther MG, Johnston WK, Wernig M, Newman J, Calabrese JM, Dennis LM, Volkert TL, Gupta S, Love J, Hannett N, Sharp PA, Bartel DP, Jaenisch R, Young RA. Connecting microRNA genes to the core transcriptional regulatory circuitry of embryonic stem cells. Cell. 2008 Aug 8; 134(3):521-33.
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  14. Marson A, Foreman R, Chevalier B, Bilodeau S, Kahn M, Young RA, Jaenisch R. Wnt signaling promotes reprogramming of somatic cells to pluripotency. Cell Stem Cell. 2008 Aug 7; 3(2):132-5.
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  15. Marson A, Kretschmer K, Frampton GM, Jacobsen ES, Polansky JK, MacIsaac KD, Levine SS, Fraenkel E, von Boehmer H, Young RA. Foxp3 occupancy and regulation of key target genes during T-cell stimulation. Nature. 2007 Feb 22; 445(7130):931-5.
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  16. Daniels MJ, Marson A, Venkitaraman AR. PML bodies control the nuclear dynamics and function of the CHFR mitotic checkpoint protein. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2004 Nov; 11(11):1114-21.
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