Institute continues impact on national cancer research

Dr. Sergio Gradilone asked to join national grant review study section

AUSTIN, Minn. – _August 17, 2020 – _Dr. Sergio Gradilone, senior faculty member of The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota, earned an invite to serve as a member of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Hepatobiliary Pathophysiology Study Section. These critically important study sections review grant applications for specialized research and Dr. Gradilone will serve for a term of six years.

“It was a great honor to receive this nomination by NIH officials and then the letter from UMN Vice President Chris Cramer acknowledging the position,” said Dr. Gradilone.

“For me it is exciting to serve in this capacity and is win-win. I will help examine and review potential and innovative research projects which make an impact on cancer research and liver diseases in general, and share what I’ve learned about the particular cancer research areas we’ve been dedicated to.”

Dr. Gradilone leads the Cancer Cell Biology & Translational Research lab at The Hormel Institute and his research focuses on how a normal cell becomes a cancerous one, looking specifically at the primary cilium, a part of a cell similar to an antenna that receives signals from the environment around it. Dr. Gradilone’s research is currently directed at an aggressive form of liver cancer called cholangiocarcinoma which originates in the epithelial cells of the bile ducts.

The Hepatobiliary Pathophysiology Study Section reviews grant applications for research involving diseases of the liver, gallbladder, bile ducts or bile. While the study section looks at a wide range of diseases, Dr. Gradilone will bring his cancer expertise to the group.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is a major government source of research grants and all applications go through the NIH’s Center for Scientific Review. To make sure each application is properly vetted, there are study sections made up of experts in their respective fields who review those applications.

Study section members are selected based on their publishing record, participation in major scientific meetings, grant funding, and overall recognition of expertise within the field. Members give a significant amount of professional time to their duties and perform and important function in the grant process for biomedical research.

The Hormel Institute is made up of 20 plus cancer research sections led by PIs (principle investigators) who are professors, associate professors or assistant professors leading his or her area of cancer research. Many of The Hormel Institute’s section leaders serve or have served on grant review panels including interim executive director Dr. Ann M. Bode who has served as an ad hoc member of the NIH Small Business Innovation Research, Drug Discovery and Molecular Pharmacology, Chemo/Dietary Prevention, and Minority Fellowship Training study sections. See the breakout box for more review panels Institute faculty have been a part of.


Examples of grant review panels Institute faculty have served on:

  • American Cancer Society Peer Review Committee on Carcinogenesis, Nutrition, and the Environment
  • L’Oreal USA Fellowships For Women in Science
  • National Science Foundation
  • NIH Tumor Cell Biology study section
  • American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grants
  • Cancer Research UK international