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

Tsujikawa T, Crocenzi T, Durham JN, Sugar EA, Wu AA, Onners B, Nauroth JM, Anders RA, Fertig EJ, Laheru DA, Reiss K, Vonderheide RH, Ko AH, Tempero MA, Fisher GA, Considine M, Danilova L, Brockstedt DG, Coussens LM, Jaffee EM, Le DT. : Evaluation of cyclophosphamide/GVAX pancreas followed by Listeria-mesothelin (CRS-207) with or without nivolumab in patients with pancreatic cancer. Clin Cancer Res 26: 3578-3588, 2020.

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 withi or without nivolumab for the treatment of metastatic pancreatic cancer. Lancet Oncology in press, 2020.

Morrison AH, Diamond MS, Hay CA, Byrne KT, Vonderheide RH. : Sufficiency of CD40 activation and immune checkpoint blockade for T cell priming and tumor immunity. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 117: 8022-8031, 2020.

Fernandez Lynch H, Sarpatwari A, Vonderheide RH, Zettler PJ.: Right to try requests and oncologists’ gatekeeping obligations. J Clin Oncol 38: 111-114, 2020.

Lin JH, Huffman AP, Wattenberg MM, Walter DM, Carpenter EL, Feldser DM, Beatty GL, Furth EE, Vonderheide RH. : Type 1 conventional dendritic cells are systemically dysregulated earely in pancreatic carcinogenesis. J Exp Med 217: e20190673, 2020.

Huffman AP, Lin JH, Kim SI, Byrne KT, Vonderheide RH. : CCL5 mediates CD40-driven CD4+ T cell tumor infiltration and immunity. JCI Insight, 2020, 5:e137263. JCI Insight 5: e137263, 2020.

Kraya AA, Maxwell KN, Wubbenhorst B, Wenz BM, Pluta J, Rech AJ, Dorfman LM, Lunceford N, Barrett A, Mitra N, Morrissette JJD, Feldman M, Nayak A, Domchek SM, Vonderheide RH*, Nathanson KL*: Genomic signatures predict the immunogenicity of BRVA-deficient breast cancer. Clin Cancer Res 25: 4363-4374, 2019.

Markosyan N, Li J, Sun YH, Richman LP, Lin JH, Yan F, Quinones L, Sela Y, Yamazoe T, Gordon N, Tobias JW, Byrne KT, Rech AJ, FitzGerald GA, Stanger BZ, Vonderheide RH. : Tumor-cell intrinsic EPHA2 suppresses anti-tumor immunity by regulating PTGS2 (COX2). J Clin Invest 129: 3594-3609, 2019.

Veglia F, Tyurin VA, Blasi M, De Leo A, Kossenkov AV, Donthireddy L, To TKJ, Schug Z, Basu S, Wang F, Ricciotti E, DiRusso C, Murphy ME, Vonderheide RH, Lieberman PM, Mulligan C, Nam B, Hockstein N, Masters G, Guarino M, Lin C, Nefedova Y, Black P, Kagan VE, Gabrilovich DI.: Fatty acid transport protein 2 reprograms neutrophils in cancer. Nature 569: 573-78, 2019.

Mastio J, Condamine T, Dominguez G, Kossenkov AV, Donthireddy L, Veglia F, Lin C, Wang F, Fu S, Zhou J, Viatour P, Lavilla-Alonso S, Polo AT, Tcyganov EN, Mulligan C Jr, Nam B, Bennett J, Masters G, Guarino M, Kumar A, Nefedova Y, Vonderheide RH, Languino LR, Abrams SI, Gabrilovich DI. : Identification of monocyte-like precursors of granulocytes in cancer as a mechanism for accumulation of PMN-MDSCs. J Exp Med, 2019 216: 2150-2169, 2019.

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Last updated: 12/17/2020
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