Elliott Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Kristian M. Hargadon ’01 received a $10,000 renewal of a Virginia Academy of Science Jeffress Research Grant from the Thomas F. Jeffress and Kate Miller Jeffress Memorial Trust for his project entitled “Tumor-induced Immunosuppression of Dendritic Cell Function.” This renewal brings total funding from the Jeffress Trust for this project to $45,000 over the last 3 years. With the previous funding, Dr. Hargadon has utilized this funding to study the mechanism of melanoma associated suppression of the function of dendritic cells, immune cells that are critical regulators of overall anti-tumor immune responses. Using both in vitro and ex vivo model systems, Dr. Hargadon and collaborating H-SC students have identified partial roles for the melanoma-derived factors TGFbeta1 and VEGF-A in the suppression of dendritic cell function. This new funding will be used to further characterize the nature of melanoma-altered dendritic cells and to evaluate how these altered dendritic cells impact the quality of helper and cytotoxic T cell activation and differentiation. Together, these and the previous studies from this project will provide insights into tumor immune evasion strategies and may inform the design of novel immunotherapies for the treatment of melanoma.