Department of Microbiology

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Faculty Profile

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E. John Wherry, PhD

Associate Professor of Microbiology
Chair, Faculty Search Committee, Institute for Immunology, University of Pennsyvania
Co-Chair, Faculty Search Committee, Bioinformatics and Microbiology, University of Pennsylvania
Director, Institute for Immunology, University of Pennsylvania
Department: Microbiology

Contact information
421 Curie Blvd
BRB II/III Room 354
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: 215-746-8141
Graduate Group Affiliations
Education:
BS (Science)
Pennsylvania State University, 1993.
PhD (Immunology)
Thomas Jefferson University, 2000.
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Description of Research Expertise

Research Interests
Memory CD8 T cell differentiation during acute and chronic infections.

Key words: Immunological memory, T cell memory, Chronic infection, T cell dysfunction, Memory T cell differentiation.

Research Summary


A major goal of the research in Dr. Wherry's laboratory is to understand the mechanisms of suboptimal CD8 T cell responses during chronic infections. Our previous work studying CD8 T cell responses during chronic viral infections has demonstrated that virus-specific CD8 T cells often lose effector functions and fail to acquire key memory T cell properties such as homeostatic proliferation (i.e. become exhausted). Using a variety of approaches including global gene expression profiling we are defining cellular pathways involved in this T cell exhaustion and normal memory T cell differentiation. Some of areas of considerable current interest for the lab include inhibitory receptors (e.g. PD-1, LAG-3), transcription factors and inflammatory pathways. T cell exhaustion is a common feature during many chronic infections and we are studying both viral and parasitic infections in mice and also will begin to extend our investigations to people infected with hepatitis C virus. In addition, we are examining how co-infection with two pathogens can impact T cell memory. Finally, in other studies in the lab we are investigating the mechanisms of T cell mediated protective immunity to influenza virus and how T cell memory changes with age.


Lab
Rotation Projects
1) Regulatory mechanisms during chronic viral infections
2) Role of inflammatory environment versus antigen in T cell exhaustion
3) Transcriptional regulation of T cell differentiation
4) Age-related changes in T cell responses
5) Molecular program of memory T cell self-renewal

Lab personnel
Mohammed Ali- Research Specialist
Bertram Bensch - Postdoctoral Fellow
Ramin Herati - Fellow
Sarah Henrickson - Fellow
Jonathan Johnnidis- Graduate Student
Makoto Kurachi - Postdoctoral Fellow
Pam Odorizzi - Graduate Student
Olesya Palko - Research Specialist
Kristen Pauken - Postdoctoral Fellow
Erietta Stelekati - Postdoctoral Fellow
Vesselin Tomov – Postdoctoral Fellow

Samantha Halter - Executive Asisstant
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Last updated: 09/11/2014
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