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National Jewish Health Researcher Pippa Marrack, PhD, Named to Colorado Women's Hall of Fame

Pippa Marrack, PhD, world-renowned immunologist at National Jewish Health, has been named to the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame. She will be officially inducted to the hall of fame at a ceremony on Thursday, March 18.

Dr. Marrack and nine other winners of the honor, "exemplify the best qualities of the people who have built and sustained Colorado," said Dr. Christine Johnson, Chair of the Board of Directors for the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame. "They will join the other 112 outstanding women who have shared vision, foresight and the power of accomplishment to become inductees in the Hall of Fame."

For more than 30 years, Dr. Marrack's research has focused primarily on the T cell, an immune-system cell that recognizes foreign substances in the body and orchestrates the adaptive immune response. Her work has been done in partnership with her husband, John Kappler, Ph.D.

Among other accomplishments, Drs. Kappler and Marrack discovered the T-cell receptor, the crucial element that recognizes foreign substances in the body, and superantigens, extremely virulent toxins that cause an overwhelming and disastrous immune response, such as occurs in toxic shock syndrome.

In recent years, Drs. Marrack and Kappler have focused on understanding memory cells, the T cells that help jumpstart an immune response the second time the immune system encounters a pathogen, and how additives to vaccines, called adjuvants, enhance the development of memory T cells. They also study how T cells bind to and recognize antigens in autoimmunity and allergy. These and other discoveries have made Drs. Marrack and Kappler two of the most influential immunologists in the world.

Over the years they have won numerous honors, most recently election to the Institute of Medicine, considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine.

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