Robert Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, an internationally renowned cancer immunotherapy and translational research expert, has been named Director of the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania. He is the Hanna Wise Professor in Cancer Research at the Perelman School of Medicine, Vice Chair for research in the division of Hematology-Oncology and currently serves as the Abramson Cancer Center's Associate Director for Translational Research and Executive Director of its Translational Centers of Excellence program.
Through a focus on novel immunotherapies for pancreatic cancer, melanoma, breast and ovarian cancers, Dr. Vonderheide has mapped new models for speeding translational - or "bench to bedside" research. He has led studies that demonstrated the role of agonist CD40 antibodies a potential immune therapy for cancer, paving the way to ongoing late-stage clinical trials. His work on innovative vaccine-based approaches for cancer treatment and prevention has been supported by the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute and the Basser Center for BRCA. He has also worked closely with collaborators in Penn's School of Veterinary Medicine on projects that have strengthened both human and canine health. Vonderheide has also served among leaders of an interdisciplinary team which defined a promising therapy employing both radiation and immunotherapy drugs that together mount a vaccine-like attack against cancer cells in patients with advanced melanoma. His research has appeared in Nature, Science, Cell, the New England Journal of Medicine, and other leading medical journals.
He serves as Co-Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at Penn, which was founded in April 2016 by entrepreneur and philanthropist Sean Parker to foster greater collaboration between the country's cancer centers with the goal of accelerating immunotherapy research. He is also co-leader of the Stand Up to Cancer - Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Convergence Dream Team.
Dr. Vonderheide received his bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Notre Dame, and is a graduate of the Harvard Medical School, as well as Oxford University, where he earned a doctorate in immunology as a Rhodes Scholar. He completed residency training in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and a fellowship in medical oncology at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.