Matthew D. Weitzman, PhD

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Matthew Weitzman, PhD, is an investigator in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and co-leader of the Tumor Biology Program at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He holds the Arthur Vincent Meigs Endowed Chair in Pediatrics.

Areas of Expertise: Virus-host interactions, DNA repair, How cells maintain genome integrity
Locations: Colket Translational Research Building
Phone: 267-425-2068


Matthew Weitzman graduated with a degree in genetics from the University of Leeds, UK (1987) and obtained a PhD in molecular virology from Oxford Polytechnic and the NERC Institute of Virology and Environmental Microbiology in Oxford, UK (1991). He did postdoctoral work on a Fogarty Visiting Fellowship at the NIH (1991-1993) and as a Cystic Fibrosis Postdoctoral Fellow (1994-1995) in the Institute for Human Gene Therapy, at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1997 he moved to the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California where he established a productive and well-funded lab. In 2011 he moved to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and established his lab in Cancer Pathobiology. He currently holds faculty appointments in the Departments of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Pediatrics, and Microbiology within the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. 

The research in the Weitzman lab bridges the fields of virology, DNA repair, and gene therapy. The lab studies virus-host interactions, using human DNA viruses as model systems to investigate fundamental cellular processes. One of the important questions being addressed deals with how the human genome maintains integrity in the face of viral genetic assault. Work from the lab demonstrated that viral genomes pose a direct threat to the host genome, and that the cellular apparatus that resolves DNA damage also acts as a defense against this viral assault. The lab pioneered the study of the cellular damage sensing apparatus as an intrinsic defense to virus infection. Using an integrated experimental approach that combines biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics and cell biology the lab explores the role of the DNA damage machinery during infection with multiple viruses. This work has opened up a new area in the biology of virus-host interactions and also provided a platform for interrogating cellular pathways involved in recognition and processing of DNA damage.

Research in the lab has been continuously supported by NIH grants for over 15 years and Dr. Weitzman has published over 80 articles in leading peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Weitzman is an active participant in the wider scientific community in many educational and advisory capacities. He is a member of the Center for Childhood Cancer Research (CCCR), the Penn Institute for Immunology (IFI), and the Penn Center for AIDS Research (CFAR). On the national level, he served as chair of the Education Committee for the American Society for Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT), and chair of the New Investigator Committee. He participates in teaching and trainee education at CHOP and the University of Pennsylvania. He has served on many national and international grant review study sections and runs multiple grant review support groups for faculty at CHOP. All of these activities demonstrate his leadership and administrative skills, and his commitment to public service.

Education and Training


Postdoctoral Fellow, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Fellow - University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA
Fogarty Postdoctoral Fellow - Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Biology, NIDDK, NIH, Bethesda, MD

Graduate Degree

PhD in Molecular Virology - Institute of Virology and Environmental Microbiology, Oxford, UK

Titles and Academic Titles


Co-Leader, Tumor Biology Program

Arthur Vincent Meigs Endowed Chair in Pediatrics

Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Professor of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Professor of Microbiology, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Areas of Focus

Laboratories & Research Programs

Research Topics

Research Interests

Virus-host interactions
DNA repair and genome instability
Gene delivery vectors




Avgousti DC, Herrmann C, Kulej K, Pancholi NJ, Sekulic N, Petrescu J, Molden RC, Blumenthal D, Paris AJ, Reyes ED, Ostapchuk P, Hearing P, Seeholzer SH, Worthen GS, Black BE, Garcia BA, Weitzman MD. A core viral protein binds host nucleosomes to sequester immune danger signals. Nature. 2016 Jul 7;535(7610):173-7.

Green, AM, Landry, S, Budagyan, K, Avgousti, D, Shalhout, S, Bhagwat, AS and Weitzman, MD( 2016).  APOBEC3A damages the cellular genome during DNA replication. Cell Cycle 15, 998-1008.


Kulej, K, Avgousti, DC, Weitzman, MD and Garcia, BA : Characterization of histone post-translational modifications during virus infection using mass spectrometry-based proteomics. Methods go, 8-20, 2015.


Deng, Z, Kim, ET, Vladimirova, O, Dheekollu, J, Wang, Z, Newhart, A, Liu, D, Myers, JL, Hensley, SE, Moffat, J, Janicki, SM, Fraser, NW, Knipe, DM, Weitzman, MD, and Lieberman, PM: HSV-1 remodels host telomeres to facilitate viral replication. Cell Reports 9(6): 2263-78, December 2014.

Richardson, SR, Narvaiza, I, Planegger, RA, Weitzman, MD and Moran, JV: APOBEC3A deaminates transiently exposed single-strand DNA that arises during LINE-1 retrotransposition. eLife 3: e02008, April 2014.

Awards and Honors

2016, CHOP Faculty Mentor Award, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
2013, Foerderer Award, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
2010, Harold S Ginsberg Lecture, America Society for Virology Annual Meeting
2008-2011, Pioneer Developmental Chair, Salk Institute
2008, Innovation Grant recipient, the Salk Institute Innovation Fund
2004, Young Investigator Award, American Society for Gene Therapy
1998-1999, Innovation Grant recipient, Presidents' Club of the Salk Institute
1994-1995, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship
1991-1993, Fogarty Visiting Fellowship at NIH
1989, Prize Winner in the Daily Telegraph Young Science Writer Awards, "Kamikaze Caterpillar Killers"
1984-1987, Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Graduate Student Scholarship

Editorial and Academic Positions

Editorial Positions

2010-present, Journal of Virology, editorial board
2005-present, Human Gene Therapy, editorial board
2004-present, Current Gene Therapy, editorial board
1999-present, Molecular Therapy, editorial board

Academic and Institutional Committees

2015-present, Research Information Services Advisory Committee (RISAC)
2015-present, R Grant Advisory Committee
2014-present, Early Stage Investigators for Grant Proposal Success (esiGPS), grant writing committee, chair
2014-present, Faculty Steering Committee, NIH Summer Research Experience Program (R25)
2013-present, Grant Proposal Success (GPS), grant writing committee, chair
2013-present, K Grant Advisory Committee
2013-present, Research Trainee Advisory Committee (RTAC), faculty advisor
2013-present, Curriculum Committee for Microbiology Graduate Program, University of Pennsylvania Perelman Medical School
2012-present, Cell & Molecular Biology (CAMB) Graduate Group, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine
2012-present, Center for Childhood Cancer, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
2012-present, Seminar Committee, Department of Microbiology, University of Pennsylvania Perelman Medical School
2011-present, CHOP Research Institute Summer Scholars Program (CRISSP), faculty advisor

Leadership and Memberships

Membership in Professional Organizations

American Society for Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT)
American Society for Virology (ASV)
American Society for Microbiology (ASM)

Grant Reviewer Activities

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Cancer Etiology (CE) Study Section
​Special Emphasis Panel for Fellowships Review, National Cancer Institute
Study Sections for Provocative Questions in Cancer, National Cancer Institute
Oncological Sciences FogA Fellowship Review Panel

International External Grant Reviewer

German-Israel Foundation for Scientific Research and Development
Israel Science Foundation (ISF)
Human Frontiers Science Program (HFSP)
Health and Medical Research Fund (HMRF), Hong Kong
"Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale" (FRM) 
National Science Center, Poland
Italian Association for Cancer Research (AIRC)
Wellcome Trust, UK
Medical Research Council, UK