Dr. Marion Pepper joins Board of Scientific Advisors

November 16, 2023

We enthusiastically welcome Dr. Marion Pepper to our Board of Scientific Advisors! Dr. Pepper is Professor and Chair of the Department of Immunology at the University of Washington.

Pepper’s lab studies the cellular and molecular underpinnings of how our immune system remembers and responds to both acute pathogenic and chronic insults. Her scientific contributions have been acknowledged via numerous awards including the 2017 Buroughs Wellcome Fund Investigators in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease Award, and the 2021 ICIS-Luminex John R. Kettman Award for Excellence in Interferon & Cytokine Research.

As a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania Pepper characterized the T cell response to the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. Dr. Pepper then worked as a postdoc at the University of Minnesota. There, she investigated memory T cells and provided key insight into how vaccine immunity can fade over time.

Since starting her own lab, Pepper has focused on immune cell memory formation in pathogens that cause malaria and asthma-induced inflammation.

Pandemic pivot

However, Pepper deftly pivoted her research upon the emergence of the global coronavirus pandemic. Pepper and her lab have applied their immunology expertise to Covid-19, and taken on expanded responsibilities.

They have conducted human studies comparing how previously infected and naïve patients respond to vaccination. Pepper has also spent extensive time providing factual scientific communication and outreach through prominent news sources including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NPR,  The Atlantic, The New Yorker, STAT News, and local newspapers and radio.

In addition to being a BSA member at JCC, Pepper is also:

  • an advisor at Vaxart, a biotechnology company developing vaccines for infectious diseases
  • an advisor at Neoleukin, a biopharmaceutical company using de novo protein design to develop new therapeutics
  • a founding member of Solving for Science, a non-profit organization dedicated to reimagining the scientific enterprise

Pepper’s expertise in immunology and deep commitment to improving the scientific enterprise will be crucial assets to the JCC community!