Construction underway to nearly double Institute’s size

Work on nearly doubling The Hormel Institute’s size began in recent weeks, with construction progressing rapidly. This major 2014-15 expansion will add another 20 labs – 15 for new research sections and five for core facilities shared by all of our scientists – and it will greatly expand and strengthen the world-renowned cancer research conducted at The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota.  Construction is expected to be completed one year from now in October 2015. Meanwhile, The Hormel Institute is in the process of adding two more section leaders to fill out the remaining lab space from our 2006-2008 expansion. We received nearly 300 applications for these leadership positions – a strong sign of The Hormel Institute’s reputation in the global science community.  Thank you for your important and great support – we look forward to sharing our newly expanded facility with you next year.   Indeed we are “Coming together for the Cure” as our expanded research will accelerate the discoveries leading to cancer prevention and control.

In friendship,

Zigang Dong, M.D., Dr. P.H.
Executive Director


Institute team makes promising findings for prostate cancer

Dr. Yibin Deng, leader of the “Cell Death & Cancer Genetics” section at The Hormel Institute, recently work published in Cell Reports journal, identifying a potential therapeutic target in highly aggressive, lethal forms of prostate cancer. Deng led a team that discovered hexokinase 2 (HK2) – an enzyme that catalyzes the first committed step in glucose metabolism – as a target for prostate-cancer patients who carry Pten and p53 gene mutations. Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men after lung cancer in the United States. For more information, read “Prostate cancer patients may benefit from Institute findings.

Federal grant funds research for pediatric brain cancer

Dr. Edward Hinchcliffe, leader of the “Cellular Dynamics” research section, recently received a nearly $422,000, two-year federal grant from the U.S. Department of Defense for investigating one potential cause of childhood brain cancer:  mistakes made during cell division or “mitosis” (one cell becoming two) that cause rearrangements of chromosomes called “chromosome instability.” Recent studies have identified gene mutations found in pediatric brain cancer, and Hinchcliffe, a basic cell biologist who is an expert microscopist and leader in the field of live-cell imaging, will investigate why those mutations happen and why they lead to tumor formation in children. For more information, read “Institute awarded pediatric brain cancer research grant.

Section leader offers summer mini-course for fellow HI scientists

Dr. Rebecca Morris, leader of the “Stem Cells & Cancer” research section at The Hormel Institute, for the first time offered fellow Institute scientists an introductory mini-course on histopathology, the study of microscopic changes or abnormalities in tissues that are the result of disease, such as cancer.   The course met twice a week over lunch for seven weeks, with about 25 participating scientists. Morris, a morphologist by training who used to teach histology at Columbia University in New York, uses many histopathological techniques in her lab to study stem cells and cancer. Scientists learned basic major techniques in histopath and microscopic anatomy, such as the four major tissues types; how to identify many major organs through tissue; and the basics of inflammation and cancer.


China delegation returns to Institute to further research partnership

A delegation from China’s Henan Province led by its Vice Governor Wang Yanling visited The Hormel Institute for a special event Sept. 2 that featured U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, State Sen. Dan Sparks and leaders from The Hormel Foundation, Mayo Clinic and other organizations.  The visit was Vice Governor Yanling’s first to The Hormel Institute and aimed to further and strengthen The Hormel Institute’s cancer research through a partnership created in 2012 between the Institute and Henan Province. For more information, read, “China delegation visits The Hormel Institute.

Institute hosts famous researchers for collaboration, learning

Dr. Robert Huber, a Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry for his work with protein crystallography, and Dr. Michael Karin, a leading cancer research and member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, made separate visits in recent weeks to present their work as well as collaborate with The Hormel Institute’s researchers. Huber, a German scientist who won a Nobel Prize in 1988, focuses on exploring and interpreting the three-dimensional structure of biological molecules, which is critical for basic research and developing new medications. Karin, a Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology at the University of California, San Diego, has made numerous scientific achievements, including revealing how signal transduction pathways regulate gene expression in response to extracellular stimuli. For more information, read “Nobel Prize-winning scientist visits Institute” and “Award-winning scientist visits Institute.”


Karl Tourney raises $60,000 for pediatric cancer research

The Karl Potach Foundation donated $60,000 in August to support research at The Hormel Institute into Wilm’s tumor, a rare kidney cancer that primarily affects children. The gift was made at the 17th annual Karl Tourney in memory of Karl Potach, a 4-year-old Austin boy who passed away from Wilm’s tumor. In 2008, The Hormel Institute and The Karl Potach Foundation started a collaboration to jointly fund research conducted exclusively on Wilm’s tumor within the “Cellular & Molecular Biology” research section led by Executive Director Dr. Zigang Dong. To learn about why a butterfly is the Karl Tourney’s symbol, read, “Karl’s Butterfly Story.”
Minnesota Ladies Auxiliary VFW continues significant annual support

More than $15,000 recently was donated to The Hormel Institute’s cancer research by the Minnesota Ladies Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars during the group’s fall conference in Willmar. Members of the state’s Ladies Auxiliary VFW now have generously given more than $61,000 in support for cancer research at The Hormel Institute.


Tips on skin cancer prevention offered by Institute

Dr. Zigang Dong and The Hormel Institute offered tips and information about skin cancer, especially its most fatal form known as melanoma, in the latest issues of “Austin Living” magazine. Skin cancer is the most-common type of cancer in the United States and worldwide, with incidence rates continuing to climb annually. The Hormel Institute is one of the world leaders in skin cancer research at the basic science level and, in 2008, it hosted the eighth International Skin Carcinogenesis Conference. For more information and tips on skin cancer prevention, read “A Growing Issue” (pages 24 and 25).


5 Tips for Refreshed Dining

Here are tips for healthy dining out from Mower Refreshed, a local wellness movement that promotes and supports making healthy choices easier and more accessible for every citizen. The Hormel Institute works with Mower Refreshed on supporting its important mission.
1)      Eat a rainbow – brighten up your meal with fruits and vegetables, look for a variety of colors.
2)      Get grilled – Choose grilled instead of breaded for great flavor as well as less fat and sodium.
3)      Engage – Focus on others at your table. Fewer distractions mean more time to connect.
4)      Choose wisely – Cut up to 200 empty calories (per drink) from your meal by choosing beverages without added sugar, such as water, milk, coffee or tea.
5)      Keep an eye on portions – Eat until you are satisfied (not stuffed) and ask for recyclable or eco-friendly containers to bring home extras.


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