University of Minnesota, Mayo Clinic, The Hormel Foundation sign Institute agreement


*(Left to right) Dr. Zigang Dong, executive director of The Hormel Institute; Richard L. Knowlton, chairman of The Hormel Foundation; President Eric Kaler of the University of Minnesota; and Dr. Glenn Forbes of Mayo Clinic took part in a major collaborative agreement signing Oct. 4 at The Hormel Institute.

AUSTIN, Minn. — Tuesday, Oct. 4 –With a goal to create one of the world’s best medical research institutions through The Hormel Institute, leaders from the University of Minnesota, Mayo Clinic and The Hormel Foundation finalized a collaborative agreement today boosting a mission to improve health globally.

 During his first visit to The Hormel Institute, new University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler signed the agreement which was also signed by Dr. John Noseworthy, CEO of Mayo Clinic, Richard L. Knowlton, Chairman of The Hormel Foundation and Dr. Zigang Dong, Executive Director of The Hormel Institute.

“The University of Minnesota is thrilled to be a partner with two great neighbors and health care innovators,” said University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler.  “We are proud to be part of this groundbreaking, job-creating partnership that will advance the important work of our labs and bring our discoveries to the patients who need them.”

Developing a Bioscience Triad between the University of Minnesota/Minneapolis, Mayo Clinic/Rochester and The Hormel Institute/Austin has been a goal since the Institute tripled in size in 2008. Today’s collaboration agreement adds a “Mayo Clinic Hormel Institute” to the existing University of Minnesota institute.

The expansion of 2006-2008 and its promise to add 100 new faculty and staff to Austin is underway, with its number of employees going from 60 to today’s 120.  The added growth of The Hormel Institute will continue to bring additional jobs to Austin.

“Through this partnership, our discoveries can be translated into medical practice more effectively and efficiently,” said Dong, who is considered one of the world’s leading cancer prevention experts. Dong has led The Hormel Institute since 2001 and will serve as the new partnership’s executive director to manage its respective cancer research programs.

“This is a day to celebrate as the partnership means the process from discovery to medical care is accelerated.”

The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic’s biomedical research will use available funding and research efforts to more effectively and efficiently translate research findings to medical practice to advance the understanding of disease and disease processes with the main focus on cancer.

The Hormel Foundation intends to provide the research facility or facilities to house the partnership’s research and other activities as well as provide ongoing operational and targeted funding for the Institute.   

“This important collaboration will expand reach and capacity for both University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic at The Hormel Institute,” said Richard L. Knowlton, Chairman of The Hormel Foundation.  “We are proud to make such major progress to support cancer research today.”

Following the agreement signing and lunch meeting, President Kaler toured The Hormel Institute’s facility, which underwent a nearly $25 million expansion project led by The Hormel Foundation three years ago, including development of a growing International Center of Research Technology.

Also part of the agreement, a new composition of The Hormel Institute Advisory Board convened for the first time Tuesday before the signing, with Dong serving as its chairman.
The new board is now comprised of seven members, who include the Executive Director and two representatives each from The Hormel Foundation, University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic.
 Gary Ray, vice chairman of The Hormel Foundation, will serve as the The Hormel Institute’s vice chair. 

Other members of the advisory board include Dr. Tim Mulcahy, Vice President for Research at the University of Minnesota; Dr. Allen Levine, Dean of the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences at the University of Minnesota; Dr. Robert Rizza, Executive Dean for Research at Mayo Clinic; Dr. Robert Diasio, Director of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center and Jeffrey Ettinger, President/CEO of Hormel Foods Corporation.

“Mayo Clinic welcomes the opportunity to partner more closely with The Hormel Institute and the University of Minnesota to translate cutting edge research into effective treatments for patients,” says Dr. John Noseworthy, President/CEO of Mayo Clinic.  “Together there is much we can and will do to improve the health care in our state and around the world.”

Since its inception in 1942, The Hormel Institute has been part of the University of Minnesota, with its board including representatives from the University of Minnesota, The Hormel Foundation and Mayo Clinic.

 In August 2006, the University of Minnesota, Mayo Clinic and The Hormel Foundation entered into an agreement to include Mayo in increased collaboration on research projects that would uniquely recognize and incorporate strengths of Mayo and the University, with those research projects being conducted in Austin.

About The Hormel Institute
The Hormel Institute is a world-renowned medical research center specializing in researching nontoxic ways to prevent or control cancer. It comprises a group of highly successful medical scientists who have focused their efforts on determining the basic molecular mechanisms of cancer development to develop new anti-cancer agents.

About The Hormel Foundation
The Hormel Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, was established in 1941 by Hormel Foods Corporation founder George A. Hormel and his son, Jay C. Hormel. Contributions from The Hormel Foundation directly benefit Mower County, Minnesota.

About the University of Minnesota
 The University of Minnesota is a nationally and internationally respected research and land-grant institution committed to teaching and learning, outreach and public service and research and discovery.  Its increasingly well-prepared student body can choose from a variety of innovative educational programs in both traditional fields and interdisciplinary programs.  The university has five campuses:  Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester and the Twin Cities; together more than 67,000 students enrolled in fall 2010.  For more information, visit
About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research and education for people from all walks of life. For more information, visit or