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Derek Oldridge, MD, PhD

Parker Bridge Fellow (in partnership with the V Foundation for Cancer Research)


Derek Oldridge, MD, PhD is a 2022 Parker Bridge Fellow and postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of E. John Wherry, PhD, at the University of Pennsylvania. He uses single-cell imaging and sequencing to study tumor cells and immune cells to understand better how immune cells enter the brain and interact with other cells in the tumor. He earned his MD and PhD from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. As of July 2022, Derek has been promoted to Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where he is continuing this work as an independent physician-scientist seeking effective treatments for deadly brain cancers.

As an undergraduate, Derek Oldridge trained in both experimental and computational physics and biochemistry, laying a strong foundation for combining “wet” and “dry” lab approaches to yield new biomedical insights.

As a graduate student in Genomics and Computational Biology at the University of Pennsylvania, Derek performed some of the first epigenomic profiling studies in neuroblastoma, for which he was awarded a Schweisguth Prize from the International Society of Pediatric Oncology for uncovering epigenetic mechanisms by which heritable variation in the non-coding genome drives tumor initiation. These efforts led to discovery of how an intronic super-enhancer polymorphism in a GATA transcription factor binding site drove expression of the LMO1 oncogene in an allelic dose-dependent matter. Additionally, Derek helped lead the first longitudinal whole-genome sequencing studies in neuroblastoma, uncovering RAS-MAPK pathway mutations as key drivers of neuroblastoma relapse, and laying the foundation for a new generation of precision medicine trials for previously untreatable disease. Witnessing the immunotherapy revolution first hand at Penn is what inspired Derek to pursue training and apply his computational expertise in cancer immunology, both as a postdoctoral fellow and in his junior faculty career.

Education & Training

  • 2020-22: Immunogenetics Fellow, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
  • 2017-20: Clinical Pathology Resident, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
  • 2017: University of Pennsylvania, MD/PhD, Genomics and Computational Biology
  • 2015: University of Pennsylvania, MA, Statistics

Awards & Honors

  • 2022: Parker Bridge Fellow
  • 2020: Digital Innovation Award, Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies (PACT)
  • 2020: William Pepper Award, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
  • 2019: Young Investigator Award, Association for Molecular Pathology
  • 2019: Innovation Award, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
  • 2016: ITMAT Prize for Clinical/Translational Work
  • 2016: Saul Winegrad Award for Outstanding Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania
  • 2015: Schweisguth Prize, International Society of Pediatric Oncology
  • 2015: Tom Kadesch Prize in Genetics, University of Pennsylvania