Robert H. Vonderheide, MD, DPhil

faculty photo
John H. Glick Abramson Cancer Center Professor
Department: Medicine
Graduate Group Affiliations

Contact information
12 South Pavilion
3400 Civic Center Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: 215-662-3929
Fax: 215-573-2652
Lab: 215-746-2846
BSc (Chemical Engineering)
University of Notre Dame, 1985.
DPhil (Immunology)
Oxford University, 1989.
Harvard Medical School, 1993.
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Description of Research Expertise

The Vonderheide laboratory combines efforts in both basic research and clinical investigation to advance the understanding of tumor immunology and to develop novel immunotherapies for cancer. The chief hypothesis is that successful approaches in tumor immunotherapy will need to (a) optimize target antigens with regard to clinical applicability and risk of antigen loss, (b) repair host immuno-incompetence in antigen presentation and T cell function, and (c) circumvent immuno-suppressive factors of the tumor and tumor microenvironment.

Dr. Vonderheide’s basic research includes deciphering the immunobiology of novel genetically engineered mouse models of cancer, including the regulation of immune surveillance and the tumor microenvironment by CD40 and other pathways, and with a focus on pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, and melanoma. His translational work tests novel approaches such as vaccines, antibodies, and adoptive T cells for the treatment of patients with melanoma, pancreatic cancer and other cancers. He has studied ‘universal’ tumor antigens, immune effects of radiation, and immune modulatory pathways involving CD40, GM-CSF, PD-1, CTLA-4, and CD25. Publications include those in high-impact journals such as Nature, Science, Cell, and the New England Journal of Medicine.


Robert Vonderheide, MD, DPhil
Director, Abramson Cancer Center; John H. Glick MD Abramson Cancer Center's Professor

Nune Markosyan, MD, PhD, Laboratory Director

Katelyn Byrne, PhD, Instructor in Medicine

Mark Diamond, MD, PhD, Instructor in Medicine

Adham Bear, MD, PhD, Clinical Fellow

Alex Morrison, MD, TRM Student

Bereket Gebregziabher, undergraduate student

Austin Huffman, Graduate Student (PhD, Immunology)

Jeffrey Lin, Graduate Student (MD/PhD)

Andrew Rech, Post-doctoral Scholar (MD/PhD)

Lee Richman, Graduate Student (MD/PhD)

Mary Beth McAndrew, Administrator, 215-662-3929; mcandrem@upenn.edu

Description of Clinical Expertise

Medical Oncology and Experimental Therapeutics, in particular Immunotherapy

Selected Publications

Sun L, Surya S, Le AN, Desai H, Doucette A, Gabriel P, Ritchie MD, Rader D, Maillard I, Bange E, Huang AC, Vonderheide RH, DeMichele A, Verma A, Mamtani R, Maxwell KN.: Rates of COVID-19-related outcomes in cancer compared with noncancer patients. JNCI Cancer Spectr. 5, 2021.

Diamond MS, Lin JH, Vonderheide, RH. : Site-dependent immune escape of highly antigenic tumors without immunoediting. Cancer Immunol Res. 9: 877-890, 2021.

Reiss KA, Mick R, O’Hara MH, Teitelbaum U, Karasic TB, Schneider C, Cowden S, Southwell T, Romeo J, Izqur N, Hannan ZM, Tondon R, Nathanson K, Vonderheide RH, Wattenberg MM, Beatty G, Domchek SM. : Phase II Study of Maintenance Rucaparib in Patients With Platinum-Sensitive Advanced Pancreatic Cancer and a Pathogenic Germline or Somatic Variant in BRCA1, BRCA2, or PALB2. J Clin Oncol 39: 2497-2505, 2021.

Sun L, Surya S, Goodman NG, Le AN, Kelly G, Olutosin O, Desai H, Zheng C, DeLuca S, Good ML, Hussain J, Jeffries SD, Kry YR, Kugler EM, Mansour M, Ndicu J, Osei-Akoto A, Prior T, Pundock SL, Varughese LA, Weaver J, Doucette A, Dudek S, Verma SS, Gouma S, Weirick MD, McAllister CM, Bange E, Gabriel P, Ritchie M, Rader DJ, Vonderheide RH, Schuchter LM, Verma A, Maillard I, Mamtani R, Hensley SE, Gross R, Wileyto EP, Huang AC, Maxwell KN, DeMichele A.: SARS-CoV-2 Seropositivity and Seroconversion in Patients Undergoing Active Cancer-Directed Therapy. JCO Oncol Pract. 2021.

Maity A, Mick R, Rengan R, Mitchell TC, Amaravadi RK, Schuchter LM, Pryma DA, Patsch DM, Maity AP, Minn AJ, Vonderheide RH, Lukens JN.: A stratified phase I dose escalation trial of hypofractionated radiotherapy followed by ipilimumab in metastatic melanoma: long-term follow-up and final outcomes. Oncoimmunology 2021.

Reiss KA, Wattenberg MM, Damjanov N, Prechtel Dunphy E, Jacobs-Small M, Lubas MJ, Robinson J, DiCicco L, Garcia-Marcano L, Giannone MA, Karasic TB, Furth EE, Carpenter EL, Wojcieszynski AP, Vonderheide RH, Beatty GL, Ben-Josef E. : A pilot study of galunisertib plus stereotactic body radiography in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma. Mol Cancer Thera. 20: 389-397, 2021.

Bange EM, Han NA, Wileyto P, Kim JY, Gouma S, Robinson J, Greenplate AR, Hwee MA, Porterfield Fl, Owoyemi O, Naik K, Zheng C Galantino M, Weisman AR, Ittner CAG, Kugler EM, Baxter AE, Oniyide O, Agyekum, RS, Dunn TG, Jones TK, Giannini HM, Weirick ME, McAllister CM, Babady NE, Kumar A, Widman AJ, DeWolf S, Boutemine SR, Roberts C, Budzik KR, Tollet S, Wright C, Perloff T, Sun L, Mathew D, Giles JR, Oldridge DA, Wu JE, Alanio C, Adamski S, Garfall AL, Vella LA, Kerr SJ, Cohen JV, Oyer RA, Massa R, Maillard IP, Maxwell KN, Reilly JP, Maslak PG, Vonderheide RH, Wolchok JD, Hensley SE, Wherry EJ, Meyer NJ, DeMichele AM, Vardhana SA, Mamtani R, Huang AC.: CD8 + T cells contribute to survival in patients with COVID-19 and hematologic cancer. Nat Med. 27: 1280-1289, 2021.

Byrne KT, Betts CB, Mick R, Sivagnanam S, Bajor DL, Laheru DA, Chiorean EG, O’Hara MH, Liudahl SM, Newcomb CW, Alanio C, Ferreira AP, Park BS, Ohtani T, Huffman A, Vayrynen SA, Costa AD, Kaiser JC, Lacroix AM, Redlinger C, Stern M, Nowak JA, Wherry EJ, Cheever MA, Wolpin BM, Furth EE, Jaffee EM, Coussens LM, Vonderheide RH.: Neoadjuvant selicrelumab, an agonist CD40 antibody, induces changes in the tumor microenvironment in patients with resectable pancreatic cancer. Clin. Cancer Res. 27: 4574-4586, 2021.

Yang F, He Z, Duan H, Zhang D, Li J, Yang H, Dorsey JF, Zou W, Nabavizadeh SA, Bagley SJ, Abdullah K, Brem S, Zhang L, Xu X, Byrne KT, Vonderheide RH, Gong Y, Fan Y. : Synergistic immunotherapy of glioblastoma by dual targeting of IL-6 and CD40. Nat Commun. 12, 2021.

O’Hara MH, O’Reilly EM, Varadhachary G, Wolff RA, Wainberg ZA, Ko AH, Fisher G, Rahma O, Lyman JP, Cabanski CR, Mick R, Gherardini PF, Kitch L, Xu J, Samuel T, Karakunnel J, Fairchild J, Bucktrout S, LaVallee TM, Selinsky C, Till JE, Carpenter EL, Alanio C, Byrne KT, Chen RO, Trifan OC, Dugan U, Horak C, Hubbard-Lucey VM, Wherry EJ, Ibrahim R, Vonderheide RH: An open-label, multicenter, phase 1b study evaluating the safety and efficacy of CD40 agonistics monoclonal antibody APX005M and chemotherapy with or without nivolumab for the treatment of metastatic pancreatic cancer. Lancet Oncology 22: 118-131, 2021.

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Last updated: 12/03/2021
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