Alex Marson’s research goal is to understand the genetic circuits that control the function of cells in the human immune system, especially T cells. Marson and colleagues have developed new tools to accomplish efficient genome engineering in primary human immune cells with CRISPR. With this technology scientists can now readily re-write specific sequences in human cells and interrogate the biological effects. These advances in genome editing will accelerate fundamental insights into how immune cells are "wired" and have potential to enhance the next generation of cell-based immunotherapies for cancer, infectious diseases, organ transplantation and autoimmune diseases.

Disease Areas

Autoimmune Diseases
Cancer Immunotherapies
Infectious Diseases

Areas of Expertise

CRISPR Genome Engineering
Functional Genomics
Human Genetics

Lab Focus

Developing new tools for efficient genome engineering in primary human immune cells.
Pursuing a comprehensive strategy to test how coding and non-coding genetic variation controls functional programs in the immune system.
Performing functional genetic studies of host-pathogen interactions in primary human immune cells.

Research Impact

Marson’s team is pioneering new CRISPR gene editing technologies that offer faster, cheaper and more precise ways to re-write DNA programs in human immune cells. With these tools, the lab is engineering cells to treat a wide range of diseases. They are designing programs to make cells that can recognize and eliminate cancer, cells that are resistant to infections like HIV, and cells that can reduce inflammation in autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. Reprogrammed human immune cells are emerging as a new class of “living” medicines.


Professional Titles

Visiting Investigator, Gladstone Institutes

Associate Professor, Microbiology and Immunology, UCSF


Alex 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 the specification of regulatory T cells and of embryonic stem cells.

After completing his MD at Harvard Medical School and an internship and residency at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Alex Marson went to UC San Francisco (UCSF) 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. He joined Gladstone in 2019 as a visiting investigator.

Honors and Awards

2019 American Society of Clinical Investigators (ASCI) Member

2016 NIH/NIDA Avenir New Innovator Award

2016 Burroughs Wellcome Foundation Career Award for Medical Scientists

2016 American Society of Clinical Investigators (ASCI) Young Physician-Scientist Award

2010 James Tolbert Shipley Prize for Excellence and Accomplishment in Research, Harvard

2009 Sigma Xi, MIT


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Alexander Marson


Robin Givens
Senior Executive Assistant


Lab Members