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E. John Wherry, PhD

Chair, Department of Systems Pharmacology and Translational Therapeutics; Richard and Barbara Schiffrin President's Distinguished Professor; Director, Institute for Immunology


Dr. E. John Wherry is currently the Chair, Department of Systems Pharmacology and Translational Therapeutics, Richard and Barbara Schiffrin President’s Distinguished Professor and Director, Institute for Immunology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Wherry’s expertise focuses on T cell exhaustion in chronic infections and cancer and on the mechanisms by which immunoregulatory “checkpoint” pathways such as PD-1 control T cell exhaustion. Dr. Wherry’s work has defined the molecular mechanisms of T cell exhaustion, including defining the role of inhibitory receptor biology, transcriptional control and regulation of T cell differentiation. This work has helped define key principles about inhibitory receptor blockade and co-blockade to reverse T cell exhaustion (e.g. coblockade of PD-1 and LAG3, etc). Work on combination treatment to reverse exhaustion is now being extended to include other complementary approaches such as radiation and other “orthogonal” treatments. Moreover, Dr. Wherry’s work has defined central transcriptional pathways including those controlled by Blimp-1, T-bet and Eomes in the biology of exhausted T cells. Major efforts continue in transcriptional profiling, genomics and computational biology and multiparameter flow cytometry to understand the nature and reversibility of T cell exhaustion in preclinical and clinical settings.

Education & Training

  • 1993: Pennsylvania State University, BS Science
  • 2000: Thomas Jefferson University, PhD Immunology

Awards & Honors

  • 2007: 37 Under 36: America's Young Innovators in the Arts and Sciences, Smithsonian Magazine