In a small town in rural Idaho, a young Marks witnessed a close friend die of Ewing’s Sarcoma. His friend was only 18.
Before his death, the friend suffered from wasting disease so debilitating that he lost the strength to fight his cancer. This experience planted a seed for Marks that he didn’t understand for decades, until he was a fellow doing research in a neuroscience lab studying weight regulation, mostly as related to obesity. He realized that wasting disease was the opposite of the problems of obesity. “Wouldn’t it make sense that all the neuron systems that regulate body weight could be disordered by having sickness in your body?,” Marks asked.
This set Marks on a lifelong path of research and discovery. Cachexia is a relatively new field of focused study, and Marks’ research has pioneered many new discoveries that contribute to the understanding of this condition. “I see us making real, significant progress with drugs that we thought up in 2001 being in clinical trials now.” The ultimate goal, of course, is to develop drugs that can treat the separate parts of cachexia. For example, one part of cachexia is fatigue. Another is muscle wasting. Another is appetite. Breaking cachexia into components makes more sense biologically, when treatment is considered.
Marks lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife Mary and two dogs. An avid birder, he counts 2,000+ life-time species on his list, with an all-time top goal of seeing half of the worlds’ species and birding on every continent. Marks also enjoys traveling with friends and family and experiencing the world first-hand, in all its messy beauty.
Consulting on childhood growth and nutrition, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda.
This visit was focused on understanding the causes and consequences of childhood growth stunting, as a consultation for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Performing grant reviews, The South African Medical Research Council, Capetown, South Africa.
Dr. Marks is frequently called to perform grant reviews at the National Institutes of Health, and for other similar organizations around the world.
Visiting a research site, Lao Friends Hospital for Children, Luang Prabang, Laos.
Dr. Marks visited the beautiful city of Luang Prabang to attend and international conference on childhood malnutrition and growth failure. He visited a number of research sites and clinical facilities while in Laos.
Visiting research colleagues and performing an external scietific review at University of Edinburgh, UK.
Dr. Marks is on a number of external scientific advisory boards for companies and university around the world, providing advice and guidance on scientific programs related to the Marks Lab research and clinical work.
Presenting research at the Keystone Neuroinflammation Conference in Keystone, Colorado.
Fortunate to be able to present research at scientific conferences around the world, Dr. Marks considers it even more fortunate that his wife is frequently able to travel with him.
Bird watching in Belize.
Sometimes travel is just for fun!