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Welcome to the Integrated Department of Immunology at the University of Colorado - School of Medicine and National Jewish Health.

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Philippa Marrack PhD

Professor of Immunology, Biochemistry and Moleculat Biology, and Medicine; HHMI Investigator

 Philippa Marrack



Education: Cambridge University, England-PhD, 1970, Cambridge University, England-BA, MA, 1967
Fellowships: University of California (San Diego, CA)-Postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Richard Dutton, 1971-1973
Phone:  303-398-1322
Dr. Marrack's National Jewish Health webpage

We study lymphocytes, the cells which recognize that an infection is occurring in the body. Amongst these, we are particularly interested in T cells. They recognize infections in an unexpected way, by reacting with fragments of the infection bound to special proteins of the body, the MHC proteins. We are trying to find out how T cells learn to react in this fashion. We are also interested in the ways in which T cells are prevented from attacking MHC proteins bound to fragments of their own host. In most people such attack is efficiently avoided. However, in some individuals T cells do react in this way, and this event causes autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile diabetes. Our recent experiments suggest that the diseases occur because the peptide fragments involved are binding to MHC in an unexpected way.

B cells, the cells that produce antibodies, are also involved in autoimmune disease.. We have recently found an unusual population of B cells that might be involved in the process.

The power of the immune response is harnessed in vaccines, vaccines act by inducing T and B cell memory to protect us against invading organisms. We study how this is accomplished, with the hope that this understanding will help us design better vaccines.

  • Scott-Browne, J.P., White, J., Kappler, J.W., Gapin, L. and Marrack, P. Germline-encoded amino acids in the abT cell receptor control thymic selection. Nature 458:1043-1046, 2009.  PMC2679808

  • Marrack, P.,  McKee, A.S. and Munks, M.W.  Towards an understanding of the adjuvant action of aluminium.  Nature Reviews Immunology 9:287-293, 2009.

  • MacLeod, M.K.L., Clambey, E.T., Kappler, J.W. and Marrack, P.  CD4 memory T cells, what are they and what can they do?  Seminars in Immunology, 21:53-61, 2009.  PMC2679806

  • Rubtsova, K., Scott-Browne, J., Crawford, F., Dai, S., Marrack, P. and Kappler, J.W.   Many different Vbeta CDR3s can reveal the inherent MHC reactivity of germline-encoded TCR V regions.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 106: 7951-7956, 2009, PMC2674405.

  • McKee, A.S., Munks, M.W., MacLeod, M.K., Fleenor, C.J., van Rooijen, N., Kappler, J.W. and Marrack, P.  Alum induces innate immune responses through macrophage and mast cell sensors, but these are not required for alum to act as an adjuvant for specific immunity.  J. Immunol. 183: 4403-4414, 2009. PMC2912728.

  • Dai, S., Murphy, G.A., Crawford, F., Mack, D.G., Falta, M.T., Marrack, P., Kappler, J.W. and Fontenot, A.P.  Crystal structure of HLA-DP2 and implications for chronic disease.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 107:7425-7430, 2010. PMC2867715

  • MacLeod, M.K., Kappler, J.W. and Marrack, P.  Memory CD4 T cells: generation, reactivation and reassignment.  Immunology 130:10-15, 2010. PMC2855788.

  • Rubtsov, A.V., Rubtsova, K, Kappler, J.W. and Marrack, P.  Genetic and hormonal factors in female-biased immunity.  Autoimmun. Rev. 9:494-498, 2010.

  • Munks, M.W., McKee, A.S., MacLeod, M.K.., Powell, R., Brinkmann, V., Zychlisky, A., Degen, J.L., Reisdorph, N.A., Kappler, J.W. and Marrack, P. Aluminum adjuvants elicit fibrin-dependent extracellular traps in vivo.  Blood in press, 2010.

Link to Faculty Publications

Link to PubMed for more papers


2008: Member, Institute of Medicine
2005: Rockefeller University Pearl Meister Greengard Prize.
2004: National Jewish Health Abraham J. Kauvar Presidential Award
2004: University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, School of Medicine, Mentoring Award
2004: L’Oreal UNESCO for Women in Science Award
2003: Faculty Ambassador Award, National Jewish Health
2000: Lifetime Achievement Award, American Association of Immunologists
2001: Irvington Institute Scientific Leadership Award in Immunology
1999: Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy Award
1999: University of Chicago, Howard Taylor Ricketts Prize
1998: The Rabbi Shai Schacknai Memorial Prize
1997-   Fellow of the Royal Society
1996: Honorary Doctorate of Sciences, Macalester College
1995: Dickson Prize in Medicine, University of Pittsburgh
1995: Behring-Heidelberger Lecture Award
1995: FASEB Excellence in Science Award
1995: The Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize-Columbia University
1993: The Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstädter Prize, Germany
1993: Cancer Research Institute''s 1993 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Fundamental Immunology
1992: The Ernst W. Bertner Memorial Award, MD Anderson Cancer Center
1991: Honorary Doctorate of Sciences, University of Rochester
1989-   Member, National Academy of Sciences, USA