E. John Wherry

Scientific Advisor at ArsenalBio


Dr. E. John Wherry is the Barbara and Richard Schiffrin President’s Distinguished Professor, Chair of the Department of Systems Pharmacology and Translational Therapeutics in the Perelman School of Medicine and Director of the UPenn Institute for Immunology. Dr. Wherry received his Ph.D. at Thomas Jefferson University in 2000 then did postdoctoral research at Emory University with Dr. Rafi Ahmed from 2000-2004. Dr. Wherry was appointed Assistant Professor in 2005 in the Immunology Program at The Wistar Institute and then joined the Department of Microbiology in the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine in 2010. He became the Director of the Institute for Immunology in 2012 and Chair of the Department of Systems Pharmacology and Translational Therapeutics in 2018. Dr. Wherry has received numerous distinctions and honors for his consistent and significant contributions to immunology, infectious disease and cancer research including the Distinguished Alumni award from the Thomas Jefferson University, the Cancer Research Institute’s Frederick W. Alt Award for New Discoveries in Immunology and the Stand Up To Cancer Phillip A. Sharp Award. Dr. Wherry has over 190 publications in top international journals. He has an H-Index of 87 and his publications have been cited over 43,000 times.

Dr. Wherry’s research has pioneered the field of T cell exhaustion – the fundamental mechanisms by which T cell responses (and likely those of other immune cells) are shut off or attenuated during chronic infections and cancer. His discoveries helped to identify the role of the “checkpoint” molecule PD-1 and the ability to block this pathway to reinvigorate exhausted T cells. His group was also one of the first to demonstrate that targeting multiple co-inhibitory receptors simultaneously could synergistically improve therapeutic efficacy, a foundation for current combination immunotherapy efforts in humans. Dr. Wherry’s work has also created the transcriptional and epigenetic atlas of exhausted versus functional T cell biology and this atlas of information has led to numerous mechanistic discoveries that helped define exhausted T cells as a distinct immune lineage. Finally, his laboratory has been a pioneer in using transcriptomics, high dimensional cytometry, and systems immunology approaches to study immune oncology, human vaccine responses and human infectious disease. Ongoing work in his laboratory focuses on applying transcriptional, epigenetic, single cell and systems immunology approaches to study exhausted T cells and other immune cells in health and disease.


  • Scientific Advisor

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