Kendra Marr, PhD

Recent Graduate
College of Medicine – Tucson
Year Entered Program: 
Degrees Received: 
  • Ph.D. in Cancer Biology / University of Arizona / Tucson, AZ / May, 2022
  • B.S. in Biology - Cell Biology Concentration / University of Kansas / Lawrence, KS / May, 2014
    • Minor in Chemistry
    • Minor in Japanese Language & Culture
Thesis Advisor: 
Anne E. Cress, PhD
Thesis Research: 

Cancer of the prostate is the most prevalent non-cutaneous cancer and second-most deadly cancer in American men. Given that the 5-year survival for organ confined disease is near 100%, but drops to a mere 30% with distant spread, understanding disease progression is essential to developing appropriate diagnostics to address this striking decrease in survival. Towards this unmet clinical need, my graduate thesis work aims to delineate the events of prostate cancer progression with a particular focus on early invasion of the tumor through the prostatic smooth muscle capsule.

About Me: 
  • Hometown: Kansas City, KS
  • Hobbies and Interests: Drawing, acro yoga, bowling, rock climbing, Japanese language & culture, food, and travel
  • Extracurriculars: Certified Application Counselor and leader of SHARE, UACOM-T Peer Tutor, APSA Representative
Honors & Awards: 
  • Outstanding Medical Student in Hematology/Oncology,  University of Arizona Department of Medicine, 2023
  • Arizona Chapter Medical Student of the Year Award, American College of Physicians (ACP), 2022
  • Travel Award, Office for Cancer Research Training & Education Coordination (CRTEC), University of Arizona Cancer Center, 2021, 2022
  • ARCS Foundation Scholar, Phoenix Chapter 2019-2022
  • Support for Scientific Conferences Award R13GM140543 (PI: Todd Vanderah, PhD), National Institute for General Medical Sciences, NIH, 2020
  • Robert & Ethel Warner Fellowship, Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs, University of Arizona, 2020
  • Fellowship Award F30CA247106, National Cancer Institute, NIH, 2020
  • Cockrum Innovation Award, Cancer Biology GIDP, University of Arizona, 2020
  • Carter Travel Award, Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs, University of Arizona, 2020
  • Grant for Undergraduate Networking Event, Burroughs Wellcome Fund, 2019
  • Leadership Award, Commitment to Underserved People, University of Arizona College of Medicine - Tucson, 2018
  • Travel Grant, Graduate and Professional Student Council, University of Arizona, 2017, 2020
  • Special Congressional Recognition for Community Service - U.S. House of Representatives, 2017
  • Presidential Recognition for Community Service, Executive Office of the President of the United States, 2016
  • Volunteer Award, Kansas Association for the Medically Underserved, 2016
  • Departmental Honors in Biology, University of Kansas, 2014
  • Graduated with Honors, University of Kansas Honors Program, 2014
  • Undergraduate Research Award, University of Kansas, 2013
  • Office of Study Abroad Scholarship, University of Kansas, 2013
  • Freeman Award for Study in Asia (Freeman-ASIA), Institute of International Education, 2013
  • Freshman Academic Scholarship, University of Kansas, 2010
Selected Publications: 
  1. Marr KD, Gard JMC, Harryman WL, Keeswood EJ, Paxton AI, Wolgemuth C, Knudsen BS, Nagle RB, Hazlehurst LA, Sorbellini M, Cress AE. Biophysical phenotype mixtures reveal advantages for tumor muscle invasion in vivo. Biophysical Journal. 26 Sept. 2023. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2023.09.016
  2. Marr KD, Ignatenko NA, Warfel NA, Batai K, Cress AE, Pollock GR, Wong AC, Lee BR. Digital image analysis using video microscopy of human-derived prostate cancer vs normal prostate organoids to assess migratory behavior on extracellular matrix proteins. Front. Oncol., 13 January 2023. doi:fonc.2022.1083150.
  3. Harryman WL, Marr KD, Nagle RB, Cress AE. Integrins and epithelial-mesenchymal cooperation in the tumor microenvironment of muscle-invasive lethal cancers. Front. Cell Dev. Biol. 2022 Mar. 01. doi: 10.3389/fcell.2022.837585
  4. Harryman WL, Marr KD, Hernandez-Cortes D, Nagle RB, Garcia JGN, Cress AE. Cohesive cancer invasion of the biophysical barrier of smooth muscle. Cancer Metastasis Rev. Accepted 2020 Dec 14.
  5. Fernandez JM, Rizvi OH, Marr KD, Hendricks AJ, Price KN, Ludwig CM, Hsiao JL and Shi VY. Topology of lesion progression in hidradenitis suppurativa. Int J Dermatol. Accepted 2020 Dec 6
  6. Fernandez JM, Marr KD, Hendricks AJ, Price KN, Ludwig CM, Maarouf M, Hsiao JL and Shi VY. Alleviating and exacerbating foods in hidradenitis suppurativa patients. Dermatologic Therapy. 2020;e14246. doi:10.1111/dth.14246
  7. Fernandez JM, Rizvi OH, Marr KD, Price KN, Hendricks AJ, Hsiao JL and Shi VY. Itch and pain by lesion morphology in hidradenitis suppurativa patients. Int J Dermatol. 2020 Jul 14. doi:10.1111/ijd.15037
  8. Marr K, Ignatenko N, Warfel N, Batai K, Cress A, Pollock G, Wong A, Lee B. MP09-07 Use of 3D video microscopy of human-derived prostate organoids to assess features of early invasive prostate cancer. Journal of Urology. Vol. 203, No. 4S, Supplement, 2020 Apr 1. doi: 10.1097/ju.0000000000000829.07
  9. Rubenstein CS, Gard JMC, Wang M, McGrath JE, Ingabire N, Hinton JP, Marr KD, Simpson SJ, Nagle RB, Miranti CK, Warfel NA, Garcia JGN, Arif-Tiwari H, Cress AE. Gene editing of α6 integrin inhibits muscle invasive networks and increases cell-cell biophysical properties in prostate cancer. Cancer Res. 2019 Jul 23. pii: canres.0868.2019. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-19-0868. PubMed PMID: 31337652.
  10. Ragkousi K, Marr K, McKinney S, Ellington L, Gibson MC. Cell-Cycle-Coupled Oscillations in Apical Polarity and Intercellular Contact Maintain Order in Embryonic Epithelia. Curr Biol. 2017 May 8;27(9):1381-1386. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.03.064. Epub 2017 Apr 27. PubMed PMID: 28457868.
  11. Erwin AA, Galdos MA, Wickersheim ML, Harrison CC, Marr KD, Colicchio JM, Blumenstiel JP. piRNAs Are Associated with Diverse Transgenerational Effects on Gene and Transposon Expression in a Hybrid Dysgenic Syndrome of D. virilis. PLoS Genet. 2015 Aug 4;11(8):e1005332. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1005332. eCollection 2015 Aug 4. PubMed PMID: 26241928; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4524669


  • Marr KD. Whole-transcriptome exploration of an early invasion event in prostate cancer progression. Data Blitz University of Arizona College of Medicine Research Day. Tucson, AZ. May. 4, 2021.
  • Marr KD, Arif-Tiwari H, Gard JMC, Warfel NA, Nagle RB, Cress AE. Cancer cell invasion through a complex and dynamic smooth muscle microenvironment. Poster presentation at AACR Annual Meeting. Apr 10, 2021.
  • Marr KD, Ignatenko N, Warfel NA, Batai K, Cress AE, Pollock GR, Wong AC, Lee BR. Use of 3D video microscopy of human-derived prostate organoids to assess features of early invasive prostate cancer. Poster at AUA Annual Meeting. Washington, DC. May 15, 2020.
  • Marr KD, Arif-Tiwari H, Manzi NI, Wang M, Gard JMC, Garcia JGN, Cress AE. Smooth muscle invasion by prostate cancer requires laminin-binding integrins. Poster at AACR Advances in Prostate Cancer Research Meeting. Denver, CO. Mar. 12, 2020. [Canceled due to COVID-19].
  • Marr KD, Arif-Tiwari H, Hinton JP, Nagle RB, Martin DR, Cress AE. Characterizing the molecular tumor landscape in prostate cancer patients. Oral presentation at APSA West Regional Meeting. Loma Linda, CA. Nov. 17, 2019.
  • Marr KD, Arif-Tiwari H, Hinton JP, Nagle RB, Martin DR, Cress AE. Characterizing the molecular tumor landscape in prostate cancer patients. Poster at ACP Arizona Chapter Annual Meeting. Tucson, AZ. Oct. 18, 2019.
  • Marr KD. Prostate cancer: Smooth muscle microenvironment. Invited talk at inaugural University of Arizona Department of Urology Research Symposium. Tucson, AZ. Oct. 8, 2019.
  • Marr KD. Measuring early invasion events in prostate cancer. Oral presentation at Arizona Cancer Center Prostate Cancer Retreat, University of Arizona. Jun. 19, 2019.
  • Marr KD and Alvarez AM, event co-organizers of, “Becoming a Physician-Scientist: Intersectional Identities in an Intersectional Career,” networking event targeted at exposing underrepresented minority undergraduate students to the physician-scientist training pipeline. Tucson, AZ. Apr. 25, 2019.
  • Marr KD; Padilla A, Lander E, Lee JR, Derksen D. Students Helping Arizona Register Everyone (SHARE): A program to register Arizona communities in the ACA Marketplace. Oral Presentation at Learn Serve Lead 2017: The AAMC Annual Meeting. Boston, MA. Nov. 4, 2017.
  • Marr, KD, Ramanathan, SP, and Gibson, MC. Role of TOR signaling in controlling epithelial junctions. Poster at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research Young Invesigator Retreat. Kansas City, MO. Apr. 17, 2015.
  • Marr, KD. "Factors influencing eggshell defects in a strain of Drosophila virilis that carries a high transposon load". Thesis defense at the University of Kansas Biology Honors Symposium. Lawrence, KS. May 10, 2014.
  • Marr, KD. "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Factors influencing eggshell defects in a strain of Drosophila virilis that carries a high transposon load". Oral presentation at the University of Kansas Undergraduate Research Symposium. Lawrence, KS. Apr. 26, 2014.
MD-PhD Committee Student Rep: 
MD-PhD Committee Student Rep