Department of Immunology

Marion Pepper, Ph.D.


Dr. Pepper graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and English from Williams College and received her Ph.D. in Immunology in 2006 from the University of Pennsylvania.  She completed postdoctoral training at the University of Minnesota and joined the Department of Immunology as an Assistant Professor in 2011 and was promoted to Associate Professor 2017.


Department of Immunology
University of Washington
Office E483, Box 358059
750 Republican Street
Seattle WA 98109-8059
Phone: 206-221-8261 or 206-221-5512
Fax: 206-616-4274


Adaptive Immune Responses


Graduate Student
Mikel Ruterbusch,
Kurt Pruner,
Laila Shehata,

Laboratory Staff
Mary Fontana, Acting Instructor
Will Hahn, MD, Senior Fellow,
Brian Hondowicz, PhD, Research Scientist,
Karen Kim, Technician,
Kennidy Takehara, Research Scientist Assistant,
Lauren Rodda, Senior Fellow,
Jason Netland,


Link to Marion Pepper’s Laboratory.



Marion Pepper


The adaptive immune system is characterized by specificity, functional diversity and memory. These characteristics engender the body with the ability to mount a directed response against an individual pathogen for many years after vaccination, but also allow for the propagation of long-lived allergic responses. In the Pepper lab, we study how cells of the adaptive immune system, called CD4+ T cells and B cells, form immunological memory by visualizing their differentiation, retention and function in both mice and humans. We accomplish this by using novel tetramer-based enrichment strategies to study small populations of antigen specific CD4+ T and B cells in both complex infectious diseases, such as malaria, as well as during allergic asthma using a house dust mite model. We additionally use transgenic mice with various genetic ablations to interrogate the underlying molecular mechanisms involved in memory cell development and function. The overarching goals of these studies are to both enhance immune memory to design better vaccines and inversely block the formation of immune memory to prevent allergic disease.


  1. Recent Publications
    Brian D. Hondowicz, Dowon An, Jason M. Schenkel, Karen S. Kim, Holly R. Steach, Akshay T. Krishnamurty, Gladys J. Keitany, Esteban N. Garza, Kathryn A. Fraser, James J. Moon, William A. Altemeier, David Masopust, Marion Pepper; Interleukin-2-Dependent Allergen-Specific Tissue-Resident Memory Cells Drive Asthma
    Publication stage: In Press Corrected Proof;  DOI:
  2. Spangler JB, Tomala J, Luca VC, Jude KM, Dong S, Ring AM, Votavova P, Pepper M, Kovar M, Garcia KC. Antibodies to Interleukin-2 Elicit Selective T Cell Subset Potentiation through Distinct Conformational Mechanisms. Immunity. 2015 May 19;42(5):815-25. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2015.04.015. PubMed PMID: 25992858; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4439582.
  3.  Hwang S, Palin AC, Li L, Song KD, Lee J, Herz J, Tubo N, Chu H, Pepper M, Lesourne R, Zvezdova E, Pinkhasov J, Jenkins MK, McGavern D, Love PE. TCR ITAM multiplicity is required for the generation of follicular helper T-cells. Nat Commun. 2015 May 11;6:6982. doi: 10.1038/ncomms7982. PubMed PMID: 25959494; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4428620.
  4.  Stone EL, Pepper M, Katayama CD, Kerdiles YM, Lai CY, Emslie E, Lin YC, Yang E, Goldrath AW, Li MO, Cantrell DA, Hedrick SM. ICOS coreceptor signaling inactivates the transcription factor FOXO1 to promote Tfh cell differentiation. Immunity. 2015 Feb 17;42(2):239-51. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2015.01.017. PubMed PMID: 25692700; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4334393.
  5.  Beura LK, Anderson KG, Schenkel JM, Locquiao JJ, Fraser KA, Vezys V, Pepper M, Masopust D. Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus persistence promotes effector-like memory differentiation and enhances mucosal T cell distribution. J Leukoc Biol. 2015 Feb;97(2):217-25. doi: 10.1189/jlb.1HI0314-154R. Epub 2014 Nov 13. PubMed PMID: 25395301; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4304422.
  6.  Cohen SB, Smith NL, McDougal C, Pepper M, Shah S, Yap GS, Acha-Orbea H, Jiang A, Clausen BE, Rudd BD, Denkers EY.Beta-catenin signaling drives differentiation and proinflammatory function of IRF8-dependent dendritic cells. J Immunol. 2015 Jan 1;194(1):210-22. PubMed PMID: 25416805; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4333072.
  7.  Thorborn G, Ploquin MJ, Eksmond U, Pike R, Bayer W, Dittmer U, Hasenkrug KJ, Pepper M, Kassiotis G. Clonotypic composition of the CD4+ T cell response to a vectored retroviral antigen is determined by its speed. J Immunol. 2014 Aug 15;193(4):1567-77. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1400667. Epub 2014 Jul 7. PubMed PMID: 25000983; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4119786.
  8. Krishnamurty AT, Pepper M. Inflammatory interference of memory formation. Trends Immunol. 2014 Aug;35(8):355-7. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2014 Jul 17. PubMed PMID: 25042362; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4231870.
  9.  King C, Garza EN, Mazor R, Linehan JL, Pastan I, Pepper M, Baker D. Removing T-cell epitopes with computational protein design. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Jun 10;111(23):8577-82. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1321126111. Epub 2014 May 19. PubMed PMID: 24843166; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4060723.
  10.  Srivastava S, Koch MA, Pepper M, Campbell DJ. Type I interferons directly inhibit regulatory T cells to allow optimal antiviral T cell responses during acute LCMV infection. J Exp Med. 2014 May 5;211(5):961-74. doi: 10.1084/jem.20131556. Epub 2014 Apr 7. PubMed PMID: 24711580; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4010906.
  11.  Dupont CD, Christian DA, Selleck EM, Pepper M, Leney-Greene M, Harms Pritchard G, Koshy AA, Wagage S, Reuter MA, Sibley LD, Betts MR, Hunter CA. Parasite fate and involvement of infected cells in the induction of CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses to Toxoplasma gondii. PLoS Pathog. 2014 Apr 10;10(4):e1004047. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1004047. eCollection 2014 Apr. PubMed PMID: 24722202; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3983043