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An Eye for Success

Photo courtesy of Brian Marr, M.D. ’91

Brian Marr, M.D. ’91

From an early age, thanks to the influence of his mother, a biology teacher, Brian Marr, M.D. ’91 knew two things: he was destined to go to medical school and he never wanted to be bored. Marr has succeeded on both fronts.

As an ophthalmic oncologist, Marr is one of just a handful of experts trained in all aspects of eye cancer. Renowned in his field, his patients come from all over the world to seek treatment from the New York-based physician. Today, fear of being bored is the least of Marr’s problems. In a typical week, he spends two days operating and two and a half days seeing clinical patients.

Marr’s route to ophthalmic oncology was not a clear one. It took him much trial and error to find his particular niche. In fact, he says, “it chose me; I didn’t really choose it. And, I’ve enjoyed it ever since.” As a med student, Marr asked himself, “What are the hardest things to get into?” Ophthalmology seemed to be the answer. At the time, Lasik eye surgery was up-and-coming and Marr trained at New York Eye and Ear, where Lasik was developed. He gained much experience in the field but soon found himself bored. He wanted more.

Marr found his next adventure at an academic meeting when he found himself seated next to Jerry Shields, one of the fathers of ocular oncology, who had one of the biggest practices in the world. Shields eventually offered Marr a fellowship. That led to a nearly decade-long career with Wills Eye Hospital, one of the biggest ocular oncology sites in the country. Marr was eventually recruited to Memorial Sloan Kettering, where he spent a decade, and now works in Columbia University’s oncology department.

Looking back on his successful career, Marr is grateful for the strong foundation and opportunities that Albright provided him. “I had a mentor named Susan Munch (associate professor emerita) who was awesome and a great professor. I was able to do really well at Albright. It gave me a sense of accomplishment.”

– Jenna R. Paiano ’18