Immunologist Dr. Philippa “Pippa” Marrack is one of the world’s leading research scientists investigating T-cells, the family of cells that help the body fight off disease. Her pioneering work isolating the T-cell receptor has led to a greater understanding of the molecular basis of the immune system, and has contributed to medicine’s current understanding of vaccines, HIV, and other immune disorders.
Dr. Marrack works in conjunction with her husband, Dr. John Kappler, studying the basic biology of lymphocytes and the application of the knowledge about lymphocytes to human disease. Much of their work concentrates on T-cells as they relate to protection against infection, their role in driving autoimmune and allergic diseases, and their possible role in rejection of cancers. In 1990, they discovered superantigens, extremely virulent toxins that cause an overwhelming and disastrous immune response, such as occurs in toxic shock syndrome. In a continuing drive to understand why some autoimmune diseases occur more frequently in women than men, she and Dr. Kappler have recently described a population of B cells that may account for some of this observation.
Recognized as one of the most influential immunologists in the world, Dr. Marrack’s work in unraveling the immune system has led to numerous important discoveries that have impacted the health of millions. Dr. Marrack is an inductee in the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the United States Institute of Medicine, and The Royal Society. Her many awards include the prestigious 2015 Wolf Prize and the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize, often considered a predictor of the Nobel Prize.