Dr Philippa Marrack FMedSci FRS
Philippa Marrack is an immunologist who studies the life, death and function of the immune system’s T cells. Her work has application in both the treatment of autoimmune disorders and in the development of enhanced vaccines, which work by inducing T- and B-cell memories to protect from future infection.
Amongst her research highlights has been the discovery that autoresponsive developing T cells are terminated in the thymus, thereby ensuring that T cells are tolerant of the body’s own tissues. She was first to identify superantigens, a product of disease-causing microbes that can lead to the problematic, large-scale activation of T cells. IN addition, Philippa revealed that helper T cells identify antigens in combination with major histocompatibility complex proteins.
She has won numerous awards in recognition of her work, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Association of Immunologists in 2003 and the Wolf Prize in Medicine in 2015. Philippa belongs to a number of other prestigious scientific societies, including the Academy of Medical Sciences and the US National Academy of Sciences.
Interests and expertise
In recognition of their seminal contributions to T-cell biology, which include the characterisation of the T-cell receptor; the demonstration that self-tolerance is caused by clonal elimination in the thymus; and the discovery that bacterial toxins act as 'superantigens'.