Elliott Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Kristian M. Hargadon ’01 was recently invited to become a member of the European Academy of Tumor Immunology by the Academy’s Governing Body. Founded in 2011 to promote tumor immunology at the scientific and clinical levels, the European Academy of Tumor Immunology (EATI) aims to “bridge fields, bridge continents, and bridge generations” of tumor immunologists across the globe who are studying tumor immunity at fundamental, translational, and clinical levels. With his membership in EATI, Dr. Hargadon, whose research at Hampden-Sydney College focuses on immune suppression by melanoma, joins an international group of 360 tumor immunologists that includes 3 Nobel Laureates and many of the leading cancer researchers in the world.
Elliott Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Kristian M. Hargadon ’01 was recently awarded a $100,000 grant from the Jeffress Trusts Awards Program in Interdisciplinary Research to support his melanoma research program. Funds from this grant will be used by Dr. Hargadon and his collaborating Hampden-Sydney College students to investigate anti-tumor CD8+ T cell dysfunction and the ways in which lymph node invasion by melanoma impacts the quality of tumor-specific CD8+ T cell immune responses. Understanding these processes will shed light on mechanisms by which tumors evade immune destruction, and this knowledge may ultimately inform the design of novel immunotherapies that aim to improve the quality of anti-tumor immunity.
On March 30, ten Hampden-Sydney College students were inducted into Sigma Xi, the international honorary scientific research society. Founded in 1886 to honor excellence in scientific investigation and to encourage collaboration among researchers in all fields of science and engineering, the Society now consists of over 500 chapters at academic, industrial, and government research institutions and has nearly 60,000 members in more than 100 countries around the world. The Longwood University/Hampden-Sydney College chapter of Sigma Xi was reactivated in 2013, and the two institutions now alternate hosting an annual Sigma Xi Research Symposium that features a keynote speaker and student poster presentations highlighting recent research activities on both campuses. Congratulations to the H-SC students inducted in 2016: Branch Vincent, Christopher Hawk, J.D. Chaudhry, Jefferson Thompson, Linh Nguyen, Mitchell Thomas, Shaquann Seadrow, Will Echols, Will Fitzgerald, and Zachary Martin.
Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Kristian M. Hargadon ’01 recently published an article in the journal Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education
highlighting a novel laboratory module that he developed for improving undergraduate student learning of gene expression. This module, which is based on Dr. Hargadon’s research interests relating to melanoma, is currently used in his Biology 201 Genetics and Cell Biology course and teaches students several cutting edge techniques for investigating gene expression. Specifically, over a 6-week period, students are exposed to both traditional and quantitative polymerase chain reaction technologies as well as flow cytometric assays as they investigate expression of the Tgfb1 gene in highly versus poorly tumorigenic melanomas at both the population and single-cell levels. In the recently published study, Dr. Hargadon demonstrates the utility of this module in improving student learning of not only the process of gene expression but also of research techniques that may be employed for the experimental analysis of gene expression. Since publication of this article, Dr. Hargadon has extended this laboratory exercise in his class such that upon completion of the module, students then develop their own cancer research projects in which they assess expression of a unique gene of interest that they hypothesize might contribute to melanoma progression through altered expression patterns. Also since its publication, Dr. Hargadon’s laboratory module has also been implemented in a 300-level Biochemical Methods course at Bucknell University.
Dr. Hargadon’s article in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education can be accessed at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/bmb.20958/abstract
Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Kristian M. Hargadon ’01 recently published an Author’s View article in the journal OncoImmunology – the article highlights recent research on melanoma-associated dendritic cell dysfunction conducted in his laboratory at Hampden-Sydney College. Published by Taylor and Francis, OncoImmunology accepts high-profile submissions in the fundamental, translational, and clinical areas of tumor immunology and is one of the leading journals in the fields of both Immunology and Oncology. Following his recent publication on the induction of tissue-resident dendritic cell dysfunction by melanoma-derived factors in the journal Immunology and Cell Biology, Dr. Hargadon was invited by the Editor-in-Chief of OncoImmunology to publish an Author’s View article highlighting his recent work. Dr. Hargadon’s laboratory continues to investigate melanoma-associated immune dysfunction and the role of cancer-associated genes in promoting immune escape and tumor outgrowth. Increasing our understanding of these phenomena will lead to the design of improved immunotherapies and targeted therapies for the treatment of melanoma and other cancers.
Dr. Hargadon’s article may be accessed at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/2162402X.2015.1069462
Senior Biology major Travis Goodloe was recently awarded 1st Place in the poster competition for research he presented at the 2015 VA Branch Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology. Travis’ research, which he conducted in the laboratory of Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Kristian M. Hargadon ’01, involved the development of a quantitative RT-PCR-based assay for detecting metastatic melanoma cells in tumor-draining lymph nodes. His study provides a framework for future research aimed at investigating factors the promote lymph node invasion by melanoma, and the assay he developed may ultimately provide a useful diagnostic tool for assessing melanoma progression. Travis’ poster earned the top honor from among 59 research posters presented by both undergraduate and graduate students from colleges and universities throughout the state. Travis will attend medical school at the University of South Alabama following his graduation in 2016.
Travis Goodloe ’16 presenting his award-winning research!
On November 6, 2015, two Hampden-Sydney College senior Biology majors, Travis Goodloe and Jefferson Thompson, presented research they have been conducting on melanoma progression at the annual Virginia Branch Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Richmond, VA. Working in the laboratory of Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Kristian M. Hargadon ’01, Travis and Jefferson have been investigating factors that regulate melanoma growth and metastasis to regional lymph nodes. In particular, Travis developed a highly sensitive assay for detecting melanoma cells within lymph nodes draining the skin and lungs, a site to which melanomas frequently metastasize. In order to understand factors that potentially regulate melanoma growth and metastasis, Jefferson employed a CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing approach to knock out the Foxc2
gene in a mouse melanoma cell line. FOXC2 is a transcription factor that regulates the expression of other genes within a cell, and this novel melanoma cell line lacking this molecule will be a useful tool for future studies that aim to investigate how the FOXC2 protein promotes tumor growth and metastasis to regional lymph nodes, the latter of which will be studied using the assay developed by Travis. Both Travis and Jefferson plan to attend medical school.
Travis Goodloe ’16 and his poster describing a method he developed for detecting melanoma cells within lymph nodes
Jefferson Thompson ’16 and his poster describing the generation of a Foxc2 knockout melanoma cell line
On September 24, 2015 Hampden-Sydney College hosted the 3rd
Annual Longwood University/Hampden-Sydney College Sigma Xi Research Symposium. The event kicked off with a keynote address by Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer and Professor/Distinguished University Scholar in the Department of Biology at The University of Louisville, Dr. Lee Dugatkin, an internationally recognized expert in the field of evolutionary biology. Dr Dugatkin’s address, entitled “Mr. Jefferson and the Giant Moose,” highlighted the captivating and comical tale of Thomas Jefferson’s efforts to disprove the idea of degeneracy in the New World. The keynote address was followed by a poster session in which Hampden-Sydney College and Longwood University students presented research conducted through Honors/Independent Study Projects and Summer Research Programs. The work of 39 students ranging from freshmen to seniors was showcased at the event and represented work conducted in various fields of science, including biology, chemistry, and physics.
Sigma Xi, the international multidisciplinary scientific research society, was founded in 1886 to honor excellence in scientific investigation and encourage collaboration among researchers in all fields of science and engineering. The Society consists of over 500 chapters at academic, industrial, and government research institutions and has nearly 60,000 members in more than 100 countries around the world. The Society endeavors to encourage support of original work across the spectrum of science and technology and to promote an appreciation within society at large for the role research has played in human progress.
Keynote Speaker Dr. Lee Dugatkin
Mitchell Thomas ’17 presenting his research on fungal infection of hops.
James Lau ’17 presenting research conducted in the Chemistry Department on novel Schiff-base ligands.
Travis Goodloe ’16 presenting his research on melanoma metastasis.
Lots of great science!!!
Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Kristian M. Hargadon ’01 was recently selected the recipient of the 2015 Virginia Association of Science Teachers (VAST) Recognition in Science Education (RISE) Award for the University/College Faculty category. The award is presented annually to a single university/college science faculty member in the state of Virginia. Dr. Hargadon’s award resulted from his nomination by former student and research collaborator Osric Forrest ’12, who is now a Ph.D. candidate in the Immunology Graduate Program at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. The Virginia Association of Science Teachers was formed in 1952 with the mission of promoting excellence in science teaching and learning in Virginia.
The organization continues to thrive today with over 1100 members across the state.
Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Kristian M. Hargadon ’01 recently published research from his laboratory that reveals significant insights into factors regulating tumor growth and progression. The article, entitled “Whole genome expression microarray analysis of highly versus poorly tumorigenic murine melanoma cell lines provides insights into factors that regulate tumor growth, metastasis, and immunogenicity,” was published in Frontiers in Immunology, the official journal of the International Union of Immunological Societies. Dr. Hargadon’s study compared the expression of more than 39,000 genes in highly aggressive versus slow-growing melanomas and identified 1,462 genes that are overexpressed and 1,935 genes that are underexpressed in the aggressive form of this cancer. These findings highlight several critical genes and pathways controlling the behavior of tumor cells that will increase our understanding of tumor progression and potentially identify novel targets for cancer therapy. Indeed, results from this study are driving current work by Dr. Hargadon and his collaborating H-SC students that focuses on one of the genes (known as Foxc2) found to be overexpressed in aggressive melanoma.
The Frontiers in Immunology article is available for download at: http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fimmu.2015.00452/full