The DuPage lab will investigate mechanisms of immunosuppression within the tumor microenvironment. The treatment of cancers has been revolutionized by the use of immunotherapies that boost the function of T-cells targeting the tumor for destruction; however, these therapies are not effective in all patients and are toxic in others. The tumor microenvironment has immunosuppressive activity that can dampen the immune attack on the tumor, and immunotherapies can result in autoimmunity with unintended effects on healthy organs. Our lab studies regulatory T-cells (Tregs), a subset of T-cells that controls whether the immune system attacks or holds back. I will examine how cancers genetically reprogram Tregs in their local environment to dampen the anti-tumor immune response, with the goal of identifying mechanisms to selectively target only tumor-infiltrating Tregs without inciting autoimmune effects. Combining engineered mouse models and sophisticated genetic tools, our group will characterize critical factors in the tumor microenvironment, their effects on Treg gene activity, and whether these genetic changes can be exploited to develop cancer therapeutics with fewer off-target effects. Work from these studies will reveal new mechanisms of immunosuppression gained by cancerous tissues and ways to overcome these hurdles with precision-based medicine.