Skip to main content
John Wherry Headshot

E. John Wherry, Ph.D.

University of Pennsylvania


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 Penn 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.  He 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 for his consistent and significant contributions to infectious disease and cancer research.  

He has over 190 publications in top international journals. His research has focused on pioneering work to define the cellular and molecular nature of Immune Exhaustion — or failure of normal immune system function — in chronic infection and cancer.  His work helped identify the role of the “checkpoint” molecule PD-1 and the ability to block this pathway and reinvigorate the immune function from exhausted T cells. He also has identified novel combinations of immune treatments including one of the first to demonstrate the efficacy of co-inhibitory receptor blockade that may be future therapeutics for cancer and infections.  His laboratory has also 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 epigenetics of exhausted T cells and other immune cells, systems immunology approaches, vaccine responses and respiratory infections.

Science Programs at Allen Institute