Dr. Edward "Ted" Hinchcliffe, the Cellular Dynamics section leader at The Hormel Institute, speaks to 7th-grade students on Tuesday, March 13, at Austin's Ellis Middle School as part of an annual visit by Institute scientists to the school's science laboratories. The visit is part of the Institute's year-round education initiative.

For third-straight year, Institute researchers visit Austin middle school for day-long science activities

AUSTIN, Minn. — Tuesday, March 13 — Scientists from The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota-Mayo Clinic worked with about 600 students in 7th and 8th grades throughout the day on Tuesday, March 13, at the Ellis Middle School’s classroom science laboratories.

For the third consecutive year, researchers from The Hormel Institute spent the school day working with students as part of the Institute’s year-round education initiative. At the start of the 2010-2011 school year, Ellis opened four, new science labs created as part of a multi-million-dollar expansion and renovation project at the school.

Section leader Dr. Edward “Ted” Hinchcliffe and senior lab technician Todd Schuster made presentations and worked with Ellis students throughout the day.

Dr. Hinchcliffe heads the Cellular Dynamics section that started at the Institute in December 2008.

As a senior lab technician, Schuster operates, maintains and instructs scientists about the Institute’s shared research instruments, including confocal and fluorescent microscopes and a cell sorter.

“It is critical both for science and our society to help students consider the importance of science education and the field of research,” said Dr. Zigang Dong, Executive Director of The Hormel Institute.

“We are thankful for the opportunity to collaborate with Ellis Middle School so we may share information and build relationships with students,” Dr. Dong said. “Our hope is to ignite interest in and support of scientific research/medical research.”

Scientists visiting Ellis Middle School is one of the numerous ways The Hormel Institute, which specializes in research leading to cancer prevention and control, promotes science education throughout the year. The Hormel Institute also supports science fairs, works with high school biology students, offers a college internship program, serves as a leader of the University of Minnesota-Rochester’s Biomedical Informatics and Computational Biology (BICB) program, and provides both doctoral and post-doctoral research training programs

On Jan. 20, The Hormel Institute hosted all of Austin’s 6th-graders for the 3rd annual Ellis Day in which the students met scientists, saw scientific demonstrations, and learned about the Institute’s cutting-edge cancer research.

Established in 1942, The Hormel Institute is a world-renowned medical research center in Austin, Minn., specializing in research leading to cancer prevention and control. It is a research unit of the University of Minnesota and collaborative cancer research partner with Mayo Clinic.