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Marcus A. Tius, PhD, MS

Marcus A. Tius, PhD, MS
  • Associate Member
    Cancer Biology Program
    University of Hawaii Cancer Center
  • University of Hawaii Cancer Center Special
    Liaison to University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • Academic Appointments

  • Professor of Chemistry
    College of Natural Sciences
    University of Hawaii at Manoa


  • PhD, MS, Chemistry
    Harvard University
  • CREST Fellowship (Japan), 2001; Japan Socciety for the Promotion of Science Fellowship, 1998
  • Fellow of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, 1987-1991


  • Joanna L. Sullivan Distinguished Professor in Cancer Research
    University of Hawaii Cancer Center

Research Focus

The research in my group focuses on the development of methodology in organic synthesis and applications of the methods to the synthesis of natural products. The natural products that are targeted for synthesis are characterized by structural novelty and pharmacological activity that is relevant to cancer (e.g. cryptophycins, madindolines, rocaglamide, terpestacin). My group currently collaborates with the groups of Dr. James Turkson (UH Cancer Center, STAT3 inhibitors), Dr. Joe Ramos (UH Cancer Center, rocaglamide) and Dr. Peiwen Fei (UH Cancer Center, P53 inhibitors). My research group also has interests in the synthesis and medicinal chemistry of cannabinoids, primarily classical-nonclassical hybrid structures. I have an ongoing collaboration of many years’ standing with Dr. Alex Makriyannis (Director, Center for Drug Discovery, Northeastern University) on a number of cannabinoid projects. My research group has developed very efficient methods for stereo- and enantioselective synthesis of tricyclic cannabinoids and we have also developed the means to modify all the known pharmacophoric regions of these molecules. The connection between activation of the endocannabinoid system and cancer had been established.

Selected Publications

  • Yue P, Lopez-Tapia F, Paladino D, Li Y, Chen C-H, Namanja AT, Hilliard T, Chen Y, Tius MA, Turkson J. (2016). Hydroxamic Acid and Benzoic Acid-Based STAT3 Inhibitors Suppress Human Glioma and Breast Cancer Phenotypes In Vitro and In Vivo Cancer Res. 76, 652-663.
  • Kitamura K, Shimada N, Stewart C, Atesin A, AteĹźin TA, Tius MA. (2015). Enantioselective Palladium(0)-Catalyzed Nazarov-type Cyclization. Angew Chem Int Ed. 54, 6288-6291.
  • Zhou Z, Tius MA. (2015). Synthesis of Each Enantiomer of Rocaglamide by Means of a Pd(0)-Catalyzed Nazarov-Type Cyclization. Angew Chem Int Ed. 54, 6037-6040.
  • Jolit A, Walleser PM, Yap GPA, Tius MA. (2014). Catalytic Enantioselective Nazarov Cyclization: Construction of Vicinal All-Carbon Atom Quaternary Stereocenters. Agnew Chem Int Ed. 53, 6180-6183.
  • Basak AK, Shimada N, Bow WF, Vicic DA, Tius MA. (2010). An Organocatalytic Asymmetric Nazarov Cyclization. J Am Chem Soc. 132, 8266-8267.

Publication list via PubMed

Active Grants

  • M. Tius, Co-PI; J. Turkson, PI
    NIH/NCI, 1.00 summer, $79,888 (current year TDC)
    “STAT3, G6PD and TrxR as underlying mechanisms for antitumor responses to hirsutinolides”
    We propose to investigate Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription (STAT3), thioredoxin reductase (TrxR)1 cytoplasmic isoform 3, and glucose-6-phosphate 1-dehydrogenase (G6PD) isoform a as the targeting mechanisms underlying the antitumor responses of GBM and triple-negative breast cancer to hirsutinolide compounds.
  • M. Tius, Subcontractor; Makriyannis, PI
    NIDA, 0.50 summer, $36,550 (current year TDC)
    “Endocannabinoid Active Sites and Therapeutic Targets”
    This PPG renewal proposes to study the signaling mechanisms of cannabinergic compounds and the design and synthesis of probes with improved pharmacological profiles. The results can be used to develop improved therapies for addiction and pain. The design of the synthesis of all new materials is performed in the Tius group.