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Divij Mathew, PhD

Parker Scholar


Fewer than eight months into Dr. Mathew’s postdoc, COVID-19 forced the University of Pennsylvania to close all research except that studying the pandemic. As an immunologist in a pandemic, Dr. Mathew transitioned to studying the immune response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which temporarily delayed his original career development plan to study cancer immunotherapy. His work extended into studying cellular responses to the mRNA vaccine, leading to several manuscripts describing how the immune system responds during COVID-19 and to the mRNA vaccine.

Since transitioning back to cancer immunotherapy, Dr. Mathew has focused on how cytokines can alter the response to checkpoint blockade in immunotherapy — specifically, how the chronicity of cytokine signals like interferons can inhibit ongoing responses by driving terminal differentiation of CD8 T cells. Dr. Mathew’s primary work focuses on how transient inhibition of chronic interferon signals can lead to improved responses to checkpoint blockade therapy in both preclinical models and clinical trials.

Alongside his primary work in cytokine modulation, Dr. Mathew has ongoing studies in neoadjuvant therapy in recurrent glioblastoma and FTL3L therapy in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) demonstrating interest in understating the cellular dynamics over time in different therapies and cancers. As science has become increasingly interdisciplinary, Dr. Mathew believes the cross-pollination of data and analysis will allow a greater understanding of the human immune system in different states. With access to preclinical models and human specimens from different tissues, diseases and treatments, Dr. Mathew hopes to explore unique tools that can resolve complex data to inform more strategic therapeutics.

View Dr. Mathew’s YouTube Short.

Education & Training

  • 2019-Present: University of Pennsylvania Research Fellow
  • 2019: University of Colorado School of Medicine, PhD, Microbiology and Immunology
  • 2010-2012: Children's Hospital Boston, Research Assistant
  • 2009: Hamilton College, BA, Chemistry

Awards & Honors

  • 2023: Parker Scholar
  • 2022: American Association of Immunologists Intersect Fellowship for Computational Scientists and Immunologists