E-Progress Report of The Hormel Institute


Research saves lives. In the past two decades, cancer death rates have decreased by 22% because of research that has led to better prevention and better therapies. This translates to saving the lives of nearly 1.5 million people during that time. As we near completion of our 2014-16 Expansion, please remember that this project is focused on expanding our cancer research to accelerate discoveries aimed at saving many more lives. Together, we are on the front lines of research, leading to discoveries that will prevent cancer, detect the disease earlier and extend lives. Pictured above is an artist’s rendering of the new donor wall that will be a beautiful focal point of our future Live Learning Center’s multipurpose room. As you consider 2015 year-end donations, please keep The Hormel Institute’s Live Learning Center in mind as your tax-deductible gift will help accelerate cancer research and foster vital scientific collaborations through this facility’s state-of-the-art technology and ability to host international cancer research conferences – two of which will be hosted next year. To date, we have about $366,000 left to raise by May 1 for the $4.5 million Live Learning Center that will feature innovative communications technologies in a 250-seat lecture hall connected to a multipurpose room. On Nov. 7, the Live Learning Center fundraising received a major boost when the University of Minnesota announced a $1.5 million contribution for the facility. This gift is a match to The Hormel Foundation’s $1.5 million commitment. Goldy Gopher, the University’s mascot, joined us in the celebration that allowed the public to take a “sneak peek” tour of the great progress made thus far on the Live Learning Center. The University of Minnesota also wrote an article about the funding and project on its Inquiry blog, an online publication for the University’s Office of the Vice President for Research.

We truly thank you for your support and wish you a happy, healthy new year as we all continue “Coming Together for the Cure.”

In friendship,

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


Prestigious scientists serve on Institute’s new Scientific Advisory Board

Some of the world’s top researchers now are helping to guide the science of The Hormel Institute through a new advisory board formed by Executive Director Dr. Zigang Dong. Eight world-class scientists, including Dong, serve on The Hormel Institute Scientific Advisory Board. Members include Dr. Robert Huber, a 1988 Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry from Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Germany; Dr. Peter Vogt, a National Academy of Sciences member from The Scripps Research Institute in California; Dr. Carlo Croce, a National Academy of Sciences member from The Ohio State University; Dr. Webster Cavenee, a National Academy of Sciences member from Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in California; Dr. Scott Lippman, director of the University of California San Diego Moores Cancer Center; Dr. Christina Hoven, an award-winning researcher from Columbia University in New York; and Dr. Waun Ki Hong, former director of MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas. For more, read “Top researchers helping guide Institute.”

Institute co-leads China-U.S. Forum on Frontiers of Cancer Research conference

The Hormel Institute’s Executive Director Dr. Zigang Dong served as co-leader of the 6th China-U.S. Forum on Frontiers of Cancer Research conference this October in Zhengzhou, China. The conference attracted dozens of top cancer researchers from around the world for several days of presentations on innovated research projects and opportunities for collaboration. The 7th China-U.S. Forum on Frontiers of Cancer Research will be hosted in early June in The Hormel Institute’s future Live Learning Center under construction. The conference is one of two international cancer research symposiums the Institute will host in the new Live Learning Center; each conference typically is hosted in a major urban area.

The Hormel Institute’s 2014-15 Annual Report now available online for viewing

Progress in cancer research is detailed throughout The Hormel Institute’s 2014-15 Annual Report, which includes reports from each of its cancer research section leaders. Pictures and details on The Hormel Institute’s research, growing staff and tremendous support from its community are featured throughout the report. Please take time to read the new annual report and share it with others to raise awareness of the Institute’s leading work.

Internal seminar series at Institute features updates on cancer research projects

Recent internal seminars at The Hormel Institute featured a variety of research projects, including work related to breast, prostate and skin cancer. On Oct. 22, Dr. Young-In Chi, leader of The Hormel Institute’s Structural Biology research section, presented “RNA crystallography: Three examples” in relation to his work studying cancer and diabetes with the Institute’s protein-crystallography lab, part of its International Center of Research Technology (ICRT). Dr. Yibin Deng, leader of the Cell Death & Cancer Genetics section at The Hormel Institute, presented Nov. 5 on “Mechanism-driven targeting castration-resistant prostate cancer.” On Nov. 19, Dr. Margot Cleary, leader of the Nutrition & Metabolism research section at The Hormel Institute, presented on “Establishing a model to study interventions related to obesity and mammary tumorigenesis.” On Dec. 3, Dr. Ke Yao, a Research Assistant Professor in the Cellular & Molecular Biology section led by Executive Director Dr. Zigang Dong, presented her work related to skin cancer. Her presentation was titled, “Ribosomal S6 kinase 2 (RSK2) function in carcinogenesis.” The Hormel Institute’s internal lectures are offered every other week and aimed at generating feedback on projects as well as fostering scientific collaborations.


Special KSMQ program focuses on Institute, gives sneak peek at 2014-16 Expansion

KSMQ, an Austin-based public TV station, this fall aired a special program, “The Hormel Institute: First Look.” The nearly 30-minute program features interviews with Executive Director Dr. Zigang Dong; Mr. Gary Ray, Chair of The Hormel Foundation; Associate Director Dr. Ann M. Bode; research section leaders Dr. Mohammad Saleem (Bhat) and Dr. Sergio Gradilone; Gail Dennison, Director of Development & Public Relations; Dr. Douglas Yee, Director of the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota; Craig Jones, building coordinator and director of Research Support Services for The Hormel Institute; and John Garry, President & CEO of Development Corp. of Austin. For more, view “The Hormel Institute: First Look” program.

The Hormel Foundation board of directors tour 2014-16 Expansion

Members of The Hormel Foundation’s board of directors toured The Hormel Institute’s west and east additions that are part of the 2014-16 Expansion during the group’s meeting at the Institute. Each October, The Hormel Foundation hosts its monthly meeting at The Hormel Institute. Since 1942, The Hormel Institute has received major operational support from The Hormel Foundation, which aims to benefit the health of the world through scientific research as one of the main goals established by George & Jay Hormel. For the 2014-16 Expansion, The Hormel Foundation has committed up to $23 million, including $15 million for the east and west additions along with other funding for recruiting leading scientists. For more, view pictures from the Foundation’s tour of the expansion.


Doctors, hospital administrators from China visit Institute to collaborate

On Nov. 13, a large group of doctors and hospital administrators from China visited The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic Health System – Austin facilities. Members of the visiting delegation met with Mayo Clinic physicians and administrators as well as leaders from The Hormel Institute, including Executive Director Dr. Zigang Dong. The group discussed best practices, exchanged ideas and toured both facilities, including The Hormel Institute’s east and west expansions nearing completion. For more, view the group photo from outside of The Hormel Institute.


The Hormel Foundation sets record giving in ’15, with Institute main recipient

After giving a record amount in 2015 to the Austin community, The Hormel Foundation announced this month that will give $7.8 million in grants – a 10 percent increase – to Austin area organizations as part of its annual contribution budget in 2016. This year, The Hormel Foundation set a record high of giving $21.4 million to the community, with The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota being the main recipient. Part of the Foundation’s giving in 2015 included $8.7 million toward The Hormel Institute’s Expansion. Overall, The Hormel Foundation committed up to $23 million toward the Institute’s 2014-16 Expansion, including $13.5 million for its 20-lab east addition; $1.5 million for the new Live Learning Center; and up to $8 million for recruiting new leading scientists and outfitting labs to expand the Institute’s medical research. For more, read “Foundation primed for big 2016.”

University of Minnesota commits $1.5 million toward Institute’s Live Learning Center

As an investment in research infrastructure, the University of Minnesota announced in November it will contribute $1.5 million to The Hormel Institute’s future Live Learning Center. The $4.5 million Live Learning Center will feature a multipurpose room connected to a 250-seat lecture hall with state-of-the-art, global-communications technology. The Hormel Foundation also gave a $1.5 million gift to the project. To date, about $366,000 remains to be raised for the Live Learning Center by spring 2016. For more, read the University of Minnesota’s research blog about the gift and the media release “University of Minnesota provides $1.5 million for Live Learning Center.”

6th annual PTTP gifts coming in from October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Several fundraisers in October raised awareness and support for The Hormel Institute’s cutting-edge breast cancer research as an early part of the 6th annual Paint the Town Pink, which is aiming to raise $200,000 by spring 2016. October was the national Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Volunteers with the Mower County Habitat & Pheasants Forever Chapter #670 raised $3,000 for breast cancer research through its “Hunt for a Cure” event Oct. 3 at Three Arrows Hunting preserve near LeRoy. The Austin Runnings store also hosted its 2nd annual Ladies Night Out event on Oct. 21 that raised $1,493 for the PTTP initiative. A few other October PTTP events will be making their donations in the near future. The 2016 Paint the Town Pink officially will run from Jan. 30-Feb. 14 in Austin but has events throughout the year in Austin as well as in many other communities in the region. For more details and to see the PTTP event schedule to date, view the PTTP calendar.


Dr. Morris helps local 4th-graders prepare for science fair projects

The Hormel Institute’s Dr. Rebecca Morris, leader of the Stem Cells & Cancer research section, once again took part with other community members in assisting fourth-grade students at Austin’s Neveln Elementary School to prepare projects for the science fair. Morris was on a panel of three people who talked to students about their life as a scientist and how they became interested in science. Morris is passionate about encouraging young people to get interested in science, especially each year when she and her research team give fun science demonstrations throughout the day for all Austin sixth-graders.

Minnesota Chamber official tours Institute expansion, talks legislative priorities

Minnesota Chamber of Commerce’s Bill Blazar, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Business Development, visited The Hormel Institute on Dec. 1 for one of the Chamber’s 18 meetings throughout the state with business leaders. Blazar gave a preview for the Chamber’s priorities for the 2016 session of the Minnesota State Legislature and asked for feedback. Following the meeting, Blazar and other local business leaders toured parts of The Hormel Institute’s 2014-16 Expansion. For more, view the KIMT-TV story on the event.

Riverland carpentry students learn from touring Institute’s expansion projects

Riverland Community College’s carpentry students got a chance this fall to see major expansion work in progress through a special visit coordinated by The Hormel Institute as part of its extensive education outreach efforts. Dean Hein, the expansion’s overall supervisor for McGough, talked with the students while touring the Institute’s east 20-lab addition and its west-side Live Learning Center. By connecting through the Institute expansion, Riverland and McGough have partnered, leading to McGough helping to build the college’s commercial construction program. For more, read the full article in the “Austin Living” magazine.

KSMQ features Institute family from India for ‘On Q Latitude’ program

This fall, KSMQ aired an “On Q Latitude” segment about the country of India featuring Austin resident Vandana Tripathi, who is the wife of Dr. Shrawan K. Mishra, a scientist at The Hormel Institute. For more, view the “On Q” segment.

For more information about The Hormel Institute, please contact us at: info@hi.umn.edu
The Hormel Institute Today’s Research, Tomorrow’s Cures