Cancer Research Sections Have Doubled Since Project Began

AUSTIN, Minn.—July 23, 2009—The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota and research partner of Mayo Clinic today announces three new cancer sections have been added since the expansion was completed in 2008.  Hiring of five more faculty section leaders is underway as well as staff positions to support operations.  The Hormel Institute now employs 108 employees, up from 60 in 2006.  Over 95% of Institute employees live in or within a few miles of Austin.

“We are very pleased to be filling the labs with world class faculty who are excited to be contributing to the research of The Hormel Institute,” said Dr. Zigang Dong, Executive Director of The Hormel Institute.    “The beautiful new facility we now enjoy provides a very functional and supportive working environment and we are deeply thankful to our generous community for providing it.”


Dr. Rebecca Morris joined The Hormel Institute in October and is leader of the Stem Cells and Cancer laboratory. One of the world’s leading cancer biologists, she comes from Columbia University in New York City.  Dr. Morris enjoys her new research home at The Hormel Institute, new Austin residence and playing in the Community Band.


Dr. Edward “Ted” Hinchcliffe is an expert microscopist and leader in the field of live-cell imaging, and heads the Cellular Dynamics research section.  Dr. Hinchcliffe moved to Austin from the University of Notre Dame with his wife and young family and is pleased to return to Minnesota where Dr. Hinchcliffe earned his Ph.D. (University of Minnesota). 


Joining The Hormel Institute from M.D. Anderson,  the world’s largest medical research center located in Houston, Dr. Yibin Deng leads the new Cell Death and Cancer Genetics section.  Dr. Deng brings expertise in the field of Genetics to The Hormel Institute, aiming to identify new targets for cancer-specific treatment and novel strategies for cancer prevention. “I am happy to become one of the members of The Hormel Institute and pursue cancer research in this supportive and friendly academic environment,” said Dr. Deng.  “Collaboration between The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic provides me with a unique opportunity working with world-renowned cancer research scientists.”



The $23.4 million expansion project was completed in 2008.  The Hormel Foundation provided $13.4 million in support, along with  Hormel Foods Corporation (NYSE: HRL) giving an additional $5 million to provide the majority of financing for the new research facility. Other funding came from Mayo Clinic, the University of Minnesota, the City of Austin, Mower County, the community of Austin and Mower County, grants secured by Congressman Tim Walz and private gifts.   


The expansion has aided in enhancing The Hormel Institute’s position as an international leader in cancer research.   This month The Hormel Institute is featured on the cover of Cancer Research, one of the top research journals in the world.  Additionally, this week Drs. Zigang Dong and Ann M. Bode were notified their article called “Post translational modification of P53 in tumorigenesis,” is the most  highly cited paper in the field of Molecular Biology and Genetics in 2004-2009.  The paper was published in Nature Reviews Cancer, the highest impact cancer research journal in the world.


The Hormel Institute comprises a group of highly successful medical scientists who have focused their efforts on determining the basic molecular mechanisms of cancer development in order to use their findings for the development of new anti-cancer agents.