Cleveland Clinic Appoints J. Joseph Melenhorst, Ph.D. as Director of Cell Therapy and Immuno-Engineering Program, and Vice Chair of Center for Immunotherapy and Precision Immuno-Oncology

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J. Joseph Melenhorst, Ph.D.

J. Joseph Melenhorst, Ph.D., has been appointed director of the new Cell Therapy and Immuno-Engineering Program, and Vice Chair of the Center for Immunotherapy and Precision Immuno-Oncology at Cleveland Clinic.

A renowned cancer immunology expert, Dr. Melenhorst will lead the cell therapy developmental therapeutics program, with a focus on translating research into novel cellular therapies for patients. As vice chair of the Center for Immunotherapy and Precision Immuno-Oncology, he will work with experts from across Cleveland Clinic to advance research and treatment related to the rapidly growing field of immuno-oncology.

“Immunotherapy is the future of research in cancer and various other diseases, and Cleveland Clinic has made it a priority to establish a leading cell therapy program,” said Timothy Chan, M.D., Ph.D., chair of Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Immunotherapy and Precision Immuno-Oncology. “The program will empower clinicians and scientists to advance personalized cellular immunotherapy and further distinguish the Cleveland area as a top hub for cellular therapy development.”

Dr. Melenhorst joins Cleveland Clinic from University of Pennsylvania where he was a senior member of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies for almost a decade.  There, he was instrumental in helping bring cell therapies such as chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) therapy into patient care. CAR-T therapy has revolutionized cancer care. His research spans basic and translational immunology with an emphasis on developing next generation immune-oncology treatments and related translational sciences. His efforts also focus on the immunobiology of CAR-T cell therapies to more safely and effectively target cancers. 

Dr. Melenhorst received his Ph.D. from the University of Leiden, Netherlands.

About Cleveland Clinic
Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. U.S. News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey. Among Cleveland Clinic’s 72,500 employees worldwide are more than 5,050 salaried physicians and researchers, and 17,800 registered nurses and advanced practice providers, representing 140 medical specialties and subspecialties. Cleveland Clinic is a 6,500-bed health system that includes a 173-acre main campus near downtown Cleveland, 21 hospitals, more than 220 outpatient facilities, including locations in northeast Ohio; southeast Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; Toronto, Canada; Abu Dhabi, UAE; and London, England. In 2021, there were 10.2 million total outpatient visits, 304,000 hospital admissions and observations, and 259,000 surgical cases throughout Cleveland Clinic’s health system. Patients came for treatment from every state and 185 countries. Visit us at Follow us at News and resources available at

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