Our mission is to provide state-of the-art care to children and adults with type 1 diabetes and to teach our patients how to prevent or delay complications. Our research is devoted to finding prevention, cure, and most effective treatment of diabetes and associated disorders.
Marian Rewers, MD, PhD
Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes
John Kappler, PhD, has been named Interim Scientific Director of the Barbara Davis
Center for Childhood Diabetes (BDC) in the School of Medicine at the Anschutz
Medical Campus. He will open his laboratory at the BDC and will expand his research
and mentoring activities as the leader of the Center’s Division of Basic and
Dr. Kappler is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology of the
School of Medicine. He has been a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator since 1986 and a
member of the National Academy of Sciences since 1989. The Kappler-Marrack Research Lab at the
National Jewish Health will remain his primary laboratory. He has co-directed that lab and shared
multiple discoveries with his wife, Philippa Marrack, PhD.
Dr. Kappler received his PhD in biochemistry from Brandeis University and began a now celebrated
career in immunology through a postdoctoral fellowship under Richard Dutton, PhD, at the University of
California at San Diego. Drs. Kappler and Marrack were the first to isolate the T cell receptor. Together
they have contributed extensively to our understanding of the nature of antigen processing and major
histocompatibility complex (MHC)-restricted peptide presentation. They have explored positive and
negative selection of T cells in the thymus, T cell superantigens and the evolutionarily conserved
structural relationship between T cell receptors and MHC molecules.
For the past six years, Dr. Kappler has collaborated with investigators at the Barbara Davis Center on the
nature of the peptide/MHCII complexes that drive islet autoimmunity leading to type 1 diabetes. In the
past year, he has become the primary mentor for several BDC researchers.
In recognition of his outstanding contributions to the science of immunology of type 1 diabetes, Dr.
Kappler will receive the George S. Eisenbarth Memorial Award at the Immunology of Diabetes Society
14th International Congress, in Munich, on April 14th, 2015. Dr. Eisenbarth served as the BDC Director,
1992-2012, and attracted Dr. Kappler to the field of immunology of diabetes.
“Dr. Kappler’s leadership and scientific vision will allow us to enhance the caliber of discoveries in our
research labs to prevent and cure childhood diabetes. He has established strong working relationships
with Research Division faculty and we are very much looking forward to working with him in this
expanded role,” said Marian Rewers, MD, PhD, BDC Director. “A major strength of the BDC is the
breadth of work at the cellular and molecular level strengthened by the unique clinical resource of
ongoing studies of patients with diabetes and those at high risk of developing the disease.”
In addition to his own research and providing scientific direction to faculty and staff, Dr. Kappler will play
an active role in recruiting the permanent Director of the Division of Basic and Translational Research at
the Barbara Davis Center. Dr. Kappler will assume his responsibilities March 31, 2015.
The Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes (BDC) specializes in type 1 diabetes research and care for children and adults. It is one of the largest diabetes institutes in the world. The Center is part of the University of Colorado School of Medicine and has its dedicated building on the Anschutz Medical Campus (map) in Aurora, Colorado. The Center was funded by Marvin Davis, in 1978, and is generously supported by the Children’s Diabetes Foundation (CDF).
Clinicians, clinical researchers, and basic biomedical scientists work at the BDC to find the most effective treatment, prevention, and cure for type 1 diabetes. The Center provides state-of-the-art diabetes care to 3600 children and 2400 adults with diabetes from the Rocky Mountain Region as well as receiving national and international referrals. We also provide inpatient care to patients who are seen at the Children’s Hospital Colorado with any type of diabetes.
The Center’s faculty teach the medical, physician assistant, nursing, and dental students on campus. Residents and endocrinology fellows train at the Center on elective rotations. Basic science faculty members provide mentorship to pre-doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows from around the world.