The Hormel Institute Announces $540,000 in Cancer Research Grants Awarded to Scientists Funded Entirely by the Community

Internal grants are funded by Eagles Cancer Telethon, Paint the Town Pink, Bowling for the Battle, and Karl’s Tourney

AUSTIN, Minn. – The Hormel Institute is excited to announce over half a million dollars in research funds will be distributed to scientists through its Internal Grants Program. These seed grants are only made possible thanks to the community fundraisers Eagles Cancer Telethon, Paint the Town Pink, Karl’s Tourney/Karl Potach Foundation,  Bowling for the Battle, and Blooming Prairie Cancer Group.

“It is really moving and rewarding to see innovative cancer research projects such as these take place because of donations from our generous community,” said Gail Dennison, Director of Development and External Relations.

Seed grants allow scientists to pursue innovative ideas and gain preliminary data which they then can use to secure greater grant funding from federal funding agencies such as National Cancer Institute, Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health, and more.

“On behalf of all of us here, we want to thank the leaders of these fundraisers and those who donate. Our scientists are full of gratitude as this support allows them to explore new ideas leading to more answers and more discoveries. We truly are all working together for the same reason – to find answers to cancer as quickly as possible so we can all lead longer, healthier lives,” Dennison said.

Internal Grants Program Recipients:

Karl R. Potach Foundation Research Award (Funds raised for Wilms’ tumor research through Karl’s Tourney)

  • “Identification of potential target genes in Wilms’ tumor progression” – Qiushi Wang, PhD

Prostate Cancer Research Award (Funded by Bowling for the Battle)

  • “New molecular regulation of prostate cancer progression” – Luke Hoeppner, PhD

Paint the Town Pink Awards

  • “Gut microbiota as a mediator of increased breast cancer risk” – Leena Hilakivi-Clarke, PhD
  • “Targeting ALKBH5 RNA demethylase to inhibit activation of hepatic stellate cells into tumor-promoting myofibroblasts” – Ningling Kang, PhD
  • “Investigating nucleocytoplasmic transport pathway for therapy in glioblastoma” – Gasper Kitange, PhD
  • “Histone methylation and chromosome instability in DIPG” – James Robinson, PhD

Eagles Cancer Telethon Postdoctoral Fellowships

  • “Targeted inhibition of MDR1 in cancer therapy” – Devanshu Kurre, PhD and Nandini, PhD
  • “Epigenetic regulation of TXNIP-dependent pro-oxidant signaling in breast cancer growth and progression” – Jasvinder Singh, PhD and Anil Yadav, PhD

The proposals were reviewed using an external peer review process and were awarded based on their overall impact score.

Ongoing distributions from individual and community donations for cancer/biomedical research continue throughout the year, and thanks to The Hormel Foundation, 100% of every donation is used exclusively to advance research, none for administrative costs.

If you’d like to support The Hormel Institute’s cancer and biomedical research, visit


The Hormel Institute is an independent biomedical research department within the University of Minnesota’s Office of the Vice President for Research. Collaborative research partners include Masonic Cancer Center UMN (a Comprehensive Cancer Center as designated by the National Cancer Institute, N.I.H.), Mayo Clinic, and many other leading research centers worldwide. The Hormel Institute, which tripled in size in 2008 and doubled again in size in 2016, is home to some of the world’s most cutting-edge research technologies and expert scientists. Over the next few years, The Hormel Institute will broaden its impact through innovative, world class research in its quest to improve human health.