Dr. Marrack was trained as a biochemist at Cambridge University. She went to the University of California, San Diego in 1971 to do postdoctoral work and along the way married an American, John Kappler, which is why she is still in the USA. Together the couple worked at the University of Rochester and moved to National Jewish in Denver in 1979. She is now Chair of a newly created Department of Biomedical Science at that institution and a Distinguished Professor of the University of Colorado.
In collaboration with Dr. Kappler, Dr. Marrack studies the development, specificity and function of T cells, with side tracks to experiments on some kinds of B cells. Like many other immunologists, Drs. Marrack and Kappler have over the years shifted from a focus on basic biology to more applied studies on subjects such as the functions of vaccine adjuvants, the role of gender in autoimmunity and immune responses to self antigens and metal ions in mice and humans.
Dr. Marrack has trained more than 10 Ph.D. students and more than 40 postdoctoral fellows. Almost all of these now hold positions as scientists in academic or biotechnological institutions and almost all are still on speaking terms with their mentor. She had held a number of national posts including the Presidency of the American Association of Immunologists and, internationally, as President of the International Union of Immunological Societies. Along the way she has been fortunate to receive a number of honors. Of these, one of the lab’s favorites was the L’Oreal UNESCO for Women in Science Award since it came, for a few years, with a large Christmas box of free make up.
At the moment Drs. Marrack and Kappler have 2 children, four grandchildren, a dog and one puppy who will, they hope, soon grow out of its desire to consume the furniture.