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Marion Pepper, Ph.D.

Department of Immunology University of Washington Office E483, Box 358059 750 Republican Street Seattle WA 98109-8059
(206) 221-8261
Marion Pepper, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Immunology

Dr. Pepper graduated with a Bachelor's in Biology and English from Williams College and received her Ph.D. in Immmunology in 2006 from the Unversity of Pennsylvania.  She compled postdoctoral training at the Unversity of Minnesota and joined the Department of Immunology as an Assistant Professor in 2011.

CD4+ T cells are important mediators of a protective adaptive immune response.  After an immune response is initiated by activation of a naive T cell through its T cell receptor binding a specific peptide: MHC ligand on an antigen presenting cell, CD4+ T cells can differentiate into various functionally defined subsets.  Each of these subsets has its own arsenal of antimicrobial weapons or regulatory functions that are regulated by the expression of one or more master transcription factors.  As an immune response subsides, some of the CD4+ T cells survive to become "memory" T cells with the capacity to fend off pathogens better than their naive counterparts.  In the Pepper lab, we study how CD4+ T cells differentiate into memory cells and how the resulting memory populations function by tracking and manipulating antigen-specific immune responses. Using techniques developed in the Jenkins lab, we use MHC Class II tetramers to identify and phenotype antigen-specific cells through the entire immune response.  We focus on the CD4+ T cell response to various pathogens from vaccine strains of bacteria (attenuated Listeria) to complex parasitic infections (Plasmodium and Toxoplasma).  The overarching aim of the lab is to generate the knowledge necessary to inform better vaccine design.