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Robert Herman Vonderheide, MD, DPhil

Robert Herman Vonderheide, MD, DPhil Physician

Director of the Abramson Cancer Center John H. Glick Abramson Cancer Center Professor

Dr. Vonderheide is employed by Penn Medicine.

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About Dr. Robert H. Vonderheide

Dr. Vonderheide is an internationally renowned cancer immunotherapy and translational research expert. Through a focus on novel immunotherapies for pancreatic cancer, melanoma and breast cancers, Dr. Vonderheide has mapped new models for speeding translational - or "bench to bedside" research. He is currently the Director of the Abramson Cancer Center.

Clinical Specialties


  • Medical Oncology

Programs & Centers:

Board Certification:

  • Medical Oncology, 2000

Clinical Expertise:

  • Abdominal Chemotherapy
  • Anal Cancer
  • Anorectal Cancer
  • Appendix Cancer
  • Bile Duct Cancer (Cholangiocarcinoma)
  • Biological Targeted Therapy
  • Cancer Chemotherapy
  • Carcinoid of the Stomach
  • Carcinoid Tumor of Pancreas
  • Carcinoid Tumors
  • Colon Cancer Chemotherapy
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Cystadenoma of Pancreas
  • Esophageal Cancer
  • Esophagogastric Junction Cancer
  • Gallbladder Cancer
  • Gallbladder Mass
  • Gastrointestinal Cancer
  • Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors (GIST)
  • Hepatobiliary Malignancies
  • Hereditary Colon Cancer
  • Hereditary Nonpolyposis Colorectal Cancer
  • Immunotherapy
  • Insulinoma
  • Liver Cancer
  • Malignant Neoplasm of Pancreatic Duct
  • Malignant Tumor of Extrahepatic Bile Duct
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors
  • Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors (Islet Cell Tumors)
  • Pseudomyxoma Peritonei
  • Rectal Cancer
  • Small Bowel Cancer
  • Small Intestine Cancer
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Esophagus
  • Stomach Cancer (Gastric Cancer)
Show All Expertise

Practice Locations and Appointments

Insurance Accepted

  • Aetna US Healthcare
  • Amerihealth Caritas
  • Amerihealth Caritas Medicare
  • Cigna
  • Cigna HealthSpring
  • Clover Health Plan
  • CVS Health
  • Devon Health Services (Americare)
  • eLAP Services
  • Gateway Health Plan
  • Geisinger Health Plan
  • HealthAmerica / HealthAssurance, a Coventry Plan
  • HealthPartners
  • HealthPartners Medicare
  • HealthSmart
  • Highmark Blue Shield
  • Homestead Smart Health Plans
  • Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey
  • Humana / Choicecare
  • Independence Blue Cross (Keystone East)
  • Intergroup
  • Keystone First
  • Keystone First Medicare
  • Multiplan
  • NJ Medicaid
  • NJ Qualcare
  • Oscar Health Plan of PA
  • Oxford Health Plan
  • PA Health and Wellness (Centene) Medicare
  • PA Medicaid
  • PA Medicare
  • Preferred Health Care/LGH
  • Provider Partners Health Plan
  • Rail Road Medicare / Palmetto GBA
  • Remedy Partners at Penn Medicine
  • Tricare
  • United Healthcare
  • UnitedHealthcare Community Plan
  • US Family Health Plan
  • Veterans Choice Program

Education and Training

Medical School: Harvard University
Residency: Massachusetts General Hospital
Fellowship: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute


American Association of Cancer Research Cancer Immunology Working Group, National American Association of Cancer Research, National American Association of Physicians, National American Society of Clinical Investigation, National American Society of Clinical Oncology, National Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network, National Cancer Institute, National Immunotherapy Task Force, Investigation Drug Steering Committee, National Cancer Institute, National Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer, National National Institutes of Health, Cancer Immunopathology and Immunotherapy Study Section, National Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer, National

Hospital Affiliation

Dr. Vonderheide is employed by Penn Medicine.

Hospital Privileges:

  • Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania: Has privileges to treat patients in the hospital.


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;

Selected Publications:

Bajor David L, Xu Xiaowei, Torigian Drew A, Mick Rosemarie, Garcia Laura R, Richman Lee P, Desmarais Cindy, Nathanson Katherine L, Schuchter Lynn M, Kalos Michael, Vonderheide Robert H: Immune Activation and a 9-Year Ongoing Complete Remission Following CD40 Antibody Therapy and Metastasectomy in a Patient with Metastatic Melanoma. Cancer immunology research 2 (11): 1051-8,2014.

Condamine Thomas, Kumar Vinit, Ramachandran Indu R, Youn Je-In, Celis Esteban, Finnberg Niklas, El-Deiry Wafik S, Winograd Rafael, Vonderheide Robert H, English Nickolas R, Knight Stella C, Yagita Hideo, McCaffrey Judith C, Antonia Scott, Hockstein Neil, Witt Robert, Masters Gregory, Bauer Thomas, Gabrilovich Dmitry I: ER stress regulates myeloid-derived suppressor cell fate through TRAIL-R-mediated apoptosis. The Journal of clinical investigation 124 (6): 2626-39,2014.

Zhang Yaqing, Yan Wei, Mathew Esha, Bednar Filip, Wan Shanshan, Collins Meredith A, Evans Rebecca A, Welling Theodore H, Vonderheide Robert H, di Magliano Marina Pasca: CD4+ T lymphocyte ablation prevents pancreatic carcinogenesis in mice. Cancer immunology research 2 (5): 423-35,2014.

Richman Lee P, Vonderheide Robert H: Role of crosslinking for agonistic CD40 monoclonal antibodies as immune therapy of cancer. Cancer immunology research 2 (1): 19-26,2014.

Mueller Christian, Chulay Jeffrey D, Trapnell Bruce C, Humphries Margaret, Carey Brenna, Sandhaus Robert A, McElvaney Noel G, Messina Louis, Tang Qiushi, Rouhani Farshid N, Campbell-Thompson Martha, Fu Ann Dongtao, Yachnis Anthony, Knop David R, Ye Guo-Jie, Brantly Mark, Calcedo Roberto, Somanathan Suryanarayan, Richman Lee P, Vonderheide Robert H, Hulme Maigan A, Brusko Todd M, Wilson James M, Flotte Terence R: Human Treg responses allow sustained recombinant adeno-associated virus-mediated transgene expression. The Journal of clinical investigation 123 (12): 5310-8,2013.

Beatty GL, Torigian DA, Chiorean EG, Saboury B, Brothers A, Alavi A, Troxel AB, Sun W, Teitelbaum UR, Vonderheide RH, O'Dwyer P: A phase I study of an agonist CD40 monoclonal antibody (CP-870,893) in combination with gemcitabine in patients with advanced pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Clinical Cancer Research : [Epub ahead of print],2013.

Bayne LJ, Vonderheide RH: A myeloid-derived suppressor cell-mediated T-cell suppression assay for functional evaluation of immune cells in tumor-bearing mice. Cold Spring Harb Protoc. 2013 (9): 2013.

Markosyan N, Chen EP, Evans RA, Ndong V, Vonderheide RH, Smyth EM: Mammary carcinoma cell derived cyclooxygenase 2 suppresses tumor immune surveillance by enhancing intratumoral immune checkpoint activity. Breast Cancer Research 15 (5): R75 [Epub ahead of print],2013.

Vonderheide RH, Burg JM, Mick R, Trosko JA, Li D, Shaik MN, Tolcher AW, Hamid O: Phase I study of CD40 antibody CP-870,893 in combination with carboplatin and paclitaxel in patients with advanced solid tumors OncoImmunology 2 : e23033,2013.

Meisel JL, Domchek SM, Vonderheide RH, Giobbie-Hurder A, Lin NU, Winer EP, Partridge AH: Quality of life in long-term survivors of metastatic breast cancer. Clin Breast Cancer 12 : 119-126,2012.

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Academic Contact Info

12 South Pavilion
3400 Civic Center Blvd

Philadelphia, PA 19104
Phone: (215) 662-3929
Patient appointments: 800-789-7366 (PENN)