Founded at the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania
Robert Vonderheide

Robert Vonderheide, MD, DPhil

Director, Abramson Cancer Center & Chair, PC3I Governing Board

Vice President for Cancer Programs, University of Pennsylvania Health System Vice Dean for Cancer Programs and John H. Glick, MD, Abramson Cancer Center’s Director Professor, Perelman School of Medicine

Robert H. Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, is the Director of the Abramson Cancer Center, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the John H. Glick, MD, Abramson Cancer Center’s Director Professor. He graduated from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar and Harvard Medical School. He completed training in internal medicine and medical oncology at the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.


Dr. Vonderheide is a distinguished scientist and clinician who has deciphered mechanisms of cancer immune surveillance and developed novel cancer therapeutics, particularly in pancreatic cancer. He is well-recognized for driving the development of agonist CD40 antibodies, now in later stage clinical trials as potential immune therapy of cancer. Dr. Vonderheide discovered telomerase as a universal tumor antigen and has led the efforts to develop telomerase vaccination for both therapy and the prevention of cancer in healthy individuals. He has helped lead a team to show that stereotactic radiation therapy in combination with dual checkpoint blockade represents a synergistic path for immune activation in cancer. Dr. Vonderheide merges his clinical investigations with rigorous studies in mouse models or other laboratory systems. Dr. Vonderheide has been continuously funded by the NCI, and his high-impact findings have been published in Nature, Science, Cell and the New England Journal of Medicine.

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