PHILADELPHIA — E. John Wherry, PhD, associate professor of Microbiology, has been named the new Director of the Institute for Immunology (IFI), at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. The Penn Institute for Immunology was established in 2009 to provide an administrative and programmatic structure to unify the basic, translational, and clinical immunology communities across the University.

The Institute’s primary mission is to establish new interactions and synergistic collaborations that will accelerate innovative discoveries and to apply findings within the basic sciences to clinically-translatable approaches. Its membership now includes more than 160 faculty members from 23 departments across five schools as well as representation from CHOP and the Wistar Institute.

“The Institute for Immunology at Penn is designed to capitalize on our strengths in the basic and translational immunology of inflammation, autoimmunity, cancer, transplantation and infection and to catalyze the next steps in basic science discovery, translational research and clinical treatment of immune-related diseases,” says Wherry.  “The IFI will foster cross-disciplinary interactions with other centers and institutes to keep Penn at the forefront of immunology research and treatment.”

Wherry’s research focuses on T-cell memory, host-pathogen interactions and immunity to persisting infections in model systems and in humans. In particular, his laboratory has been at the forefront of defining the molecular and regulatory control of T-cell exhaustion and immune dysfunction that occurs during chronic infections and cancer.

He has been recognized as one of the most highly cited investigators in his field by Thomson/ISI, as one of America’s Young Innovators by Smithsonian magazine and serves on numerous scientific advisory panels and editorial boards including The Journal of Experimental Medicine, PLoS Pathogens, The Journal of Immunology and The Journal of Leukocyte Biology

Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 18 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $373 million awarded in the 2015 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2015, Penn Medicine provided $253.3 million to benefit our community.