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E. John Wherry, PhD

Abramson Cancer Center

Degree and Institution

PhD, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Kimmel Cancer Institute, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA

Faculty Title

Associate Professor, Microbiology

Administrative Title

Director, Institute for Immunology


Research Expertise

Our laboratory focuses on understanding T cell exhaustion and T cell memory. We study T cell exhaustion during chronic infections and cancer where the mechanisms of loss of function and negative regulation prevent optimal control of pathogens and tumors. Our laboratory has a strong interest in dissecting the mechanisms of inhibitory receptors such as PD-1, LAG-3 and others. We also employ integrated genomics and computational biology to explore the underlying transcription control of T cell exhaustion. Finally, we have broad interests in examining these questions using a variety of animal models and in humans. The long-term goal of these studies is to enhance therapeutic interventions and preventive strategies that overcome or avoid T cell exhaustion.

Other Affiliations
American Association of Immunologists (AAI)
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Society of Leukocyte Biology (SLB)

Honors and Award

  • 2014 Reuters, Highly Cited Researcher
  • 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award, Thomas Jefferson University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
  • 2013 Australasian visiting speaker program 2013 International Speaker
  • 2009-2011 Member, Faculty of 1000 
  • 2007, Selected as one of “America’s Young Innovators – 37 under 36” by the Smithsonian magazine 
  • 2006, Thomson/ISI citation index Rising Star, November 2006
  • 2006, Ellison Medical Foundation New Scholar in Aging
  • 2005, Career Development Award, SPORE on Skin Cancer, Wistar/UPenn
  • 2005, AAI Junior Faculty Travel Award
  • 2000-2004, Cancer Research Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • 2000, NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship F32 AI49163 (Declined)
  • 1999, Sigma XI Student Research Award
  • 1997-1999, Recipient of National Institutes of Health Developmental Training Grant in Developmental Immunology


Click here to see my publications

Contact Information

E. John Wherry

Perelman School of Medicine
University of Pennsylvania
421 Curie Blvd, room 354 
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Office Phone: 215-746-8141

Samantha Halter
Office Phone: 215-898-7819