E. John Wherry, the Richard and Barbara Schiffrin President’s Distinguished Professor of Microbiology, director of the Institute for Immunology, and co-leader of the Abramson Cancer Center’s Immunobiology Program, has received a Phillip A. Sharp Innovation in Collaboration Award from Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), the non-profit organization established by film and media leaders to support collaborative cancer research and increase awareness about cancer prevention.
Dr. Wherry and Matthew Hellmann, a medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, comprise one of five teams to receive $1.25 million to cross institutional lines and collaborate on new research projects. The members of the five teams are all part of the SU2C research community. In selecting the winning projects, the organization placed an emphasis on projects that involved SU2C-funded researchers with different skill sets.
Under the award, Dr. Wherry and Dr. Hellmann will seek to improve reinvigoration of exhausted T cells, which are white blood cells that are part of the immune system. T cell exhaustion can arise during chronic infections and cancer; it prevents optimal control of infections and tumors. Durable reprogramming of exhausted T cells is a fundamental goal of cancer researchers.