Funding will support The Hormel Institute’s collaborative cancer research

The Hormel Institute is excited to announce the University of Minnesota has provided $1.5 million toward the establishment of its future Live Learning Center to enhance global scientific collaborations and accelerate cancer research.

Expected to be completed in early 2016, the $4.5 million center will feature state-of-the-art technology for global communications, including high-definition video conferencing, inside of a 250-seat lecture hall with theater-style seating. It will have an adjacent multipurpose room for various uses, including poster sessions by scientists during research conferences.

The University’s contribution to the Live Learning Center supports an ongoing effort to invest in research infrastructure led by University President Eric Kaler and Vice President for Research Brian Herman. The Hormel Institute is part of the University of Minnesota and overseen by the U’s Office of the Vice President for Research.

“Investment in research infrastructure is key to ensuring researchers at The Hormel Institute have access to the state-of-the-art technology they need to drive cancer research forward,” Dr. Herman said. “Through this contribution to the Live Learning Center, we are excited to help lay the groundwork for future research collaborations with partners across the globe.”

Gary Ray, Chair of The Hormel Foundation, expressed gratitude for the University of Minnesota’s commitment to The Hormel Institute that will greatly enhance the global presence and influence of the Institute’s cutting-edge cancer research. It also strengthens, he said, the long-time partnership formed in 1942 between The Hormel Foundation and University of Minnesota by the late Jay C. Hormel, son of Hormel Foods Corp.’s founder George A. Hormel.

“Over 70 years ago, Jay Hormel brought to life his great vision for The Hormel Institute and very thoughtfully chose to gift the Institute to the University of Minnesota to achieve his ambitious goal of improving the health of the world through scientific research,” Ray said. “Together, The Hormel Foundation and University of Minnesota are continuing that mission today in a more global and aggressive way to fight cancer than ever before.”

The Hormel Foundation has committed $1.5 million to the Live Learning Center as part of its $23 million commitment to The Hormel Institute’s 2014-16 expansion. This funding is in addition to the Foundation’s major financial support given annually for the Institute’s operations. More than $1 million in additional funds have been raised from other donors throughout the region for the Live Learning Center, with a goal to raise the remaining $472,000 by next spring for acquiring technology for the new lecture hall. Overall, the 2014-16 expansion – which also includes a 20-lab addition for cancer research on the east side – will nearly double The Hormel Institute’s facilities as well as its overall employment over the coming years from about 125 to 250 employees.

Dr. Zigang Dong, Executive Director of The Hormel Institute, said the University of Minnesota’s support for the Live Learning Center project will further enhance Minnesota’s position as a global leader in bioscience.

“We are grateful for the University’s support and excited for the accelerated progress that will be made through our new Live Learning Center to find better ways to prevent, detect and control cancer,” Dong said.

The Hormel Institute, which has research collaborators throughout the world and is published frequently in top scientific journals, will host its first research conferences in the Live Learning Center next year. The China-U.S. Frontiers in Cancer Research symposium will be June 1-3 followed by the International Skin Carcinogenesis Conference on Sept. 21-24. Each conference typically is hosted in major cities.

Tax-deductible gifts can be made to “The Hormel Institute” in support of the Live Learning Center and a receipt will be provided for the charitable tax gift. Donation cards are available at The Hormel Institute and The Hormel Foundation. Gifts of $500 or more will be honored on a new donor wall in the Live Learning Center, and those donors who give $1,000 or more will be invited to the June 1 historic reception for its first international cancer conference. Donations can be sent to The Hormel Institute, 801 16th Ave. N.E., Austin, MN, 55912. For more information, call 507-437-9604.