E-Progress Report of The Hormel Institute


Dear Friends-

It has been a year of continued progress and exciting discoveries at The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota.   With cancer – and lives at stake – there is still much more work to be done. We are excited to show you our 75th anniversary edition of our annual report:

As you look through the special “Then & Now” section, it is a wonderful time to reflect on our leaders’ vision and support and scientists’ contributions and progress over the years. With today’s focus on accelerating answers to cancer, we daily are driven to a bigger and better future in the quest to improve the health of the world. We trust you share that vision of a healthier, brighter tomorrow. Thank you in advance for your support throughout 2018 – we hope you will continue to support the innovative cancer research at The Hormel Institute so discoveries and progress can continue.

Please know our research is for you – we are dedicated to finding answers to cancer.

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


 Institute discovery a Wilms’ Tumor breakthrough

Researchers from the Cellular and Molecular Biology lab of The Hormel Institute had their cutting edge Wilms’ Tumor research discovery published in the top cancer journal, Carcinogenesis. Wilms’ Tumor research started at The Hormel Institute in 2008 under the direction of Dr. Zigang Dong. Since then, the annual “Karl’s Tourney” golf tournament and fundraiser – held in Austin by friends and family of Dr. Kurt and Brenda Potach – has donated $504,800 to The Hormel Institute’s cancer research.

npj Precision Oncology publishes Institute zebrafish article

Dr. Luke Hoeppner, head of the Molecular Biology & Translational Cancer lab of The Hormel Institute, along with his team including Matteo Astone, Erin Dankert, and Sk. Kayum Alam, have published an article in The Hormel Institute’s partner journal npj Precision Oncology. The article explores the use of zebrafish in cancer research.

Colon cancer “precision” research makes cover of top cancer journal

Groundbreaking cancer research from The Hormel Institute’s Dr. Seung Ho Shin made the cover article of a top online research journal EBioMedicine. The published article describes important cancer biomarker research conducted by Dr. Shin under the guidance of executive director Dr. Zigang Dong in collaboration with others in the Molecular and Cellular Biology section.

Institute scientist presents prostate cancer research

Dr. Arsheed Ganaie, a Hormel Fellow researcher in the Molecular Therapeutics & Cancer Health Disparity lab of The Hormel Institute received an award from the Society for Basic Urological Research 2017 Fall Symposium in recognition of his excellent research.

Institute scientist awarded American Cancer Society grant

Dr. James Robinson, head of The Hormel Institute’s Cell Signaling and Tumorigenesis lab, was awarded an American Cancer Society Research Scholar Grant. The nearly $800,000 Research Scholar Grant award will help fund a research project titled “Determination & Validation of Resistance Mechanisms in Melanoma.”

New researcher awarded ovarian cancer research grant

One of The Hormel Institute’s new section leaders, Dr. Ilana Chefetz was awarded a coveted juior faculty grant from the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance (OCRFA). The Liz Tilberis Award honors the OCRFA’s late president and provides a three-year grant of $150,000 per year. Dr. Chefetz’s grant will allow further research to help prevent ovarian cancer recurrence.


 MNCCTN meetings ongoing

The Hormel Institute, UMN is part of the new and groundbreaking Minnesota Cancer Clinical Trials Network (MNCCTN). The MNCCTN is led by the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota and, with the help of 6 regional partner health care centers, aims to improve cancer outcomes for all Minnesotans through greater access to cancer clinical trials in the prevention and treatment of cancer.

The MNCCTN is currently seeking a Medical Director. Information about the position can be found here. More information about the MNCCTN is found on their website.


Eagles Cancer Telethon a huge success!

The  64TH “5th District Eagles Cancer Telethon” ran January 13-14th in Rochester, MN and brought in nearly $1 million in donations! Since 1999 the Eagles Cancer Telethon has donated over $2.7 million directly to The Hormel Institute’s innovative cancer research. We are so honored to benefit from this incredible fundraiser each year – THANKS to director Teresa Chapman, her husband Mike, all the special fundraisers such as Lyle Area Cancer Auction and Blooming Prairie Cancer Group and each and every event –  all who help us accelerate answers to cancer.


Paint the Town Pink is here!

Our 2018 official campaign is January 27-February 11! Many of the annual events are back again like Plunging for Pink on January 27, Fishing for a Cure on February 3, Paint the Rink Pink on February 10 and Smashing Cancer Demolition Derby on February 11. But there are many more both in Austin and around southeastern Minnesota. Check the link below for the full calendar:

Click for PINK – https://www.hi.umn.edu/pttp/


SURE Interns return to work at The Hormel Institute

We are very excited whenever any of our students can come back to work in a lab here at The Hormel Institute. We currently have three researchers working in a lab who used to be a SURE Intern. Nick Hanson was a summer 2017 intern and now works in Dr. James Robinson’s lab. Kjersten Monson was a summer 2016 and 2017 intern and now works in Dr. Zigang Dong’s lab. And Stephanie Holtorf was a summer 2016 intern and has just started in Dr. Rebecca Morris’s lab.

Austin Living Magazine highlights two BICB students working at Institute

Sonali Lad and Nissi Paidimukkala, two BICB students at UMR who are both advised by The Hormel Institute’s Dr. Rebecca Morris, are featured in the most recent issue of Austin Living magazine. “Fighting with dedication” discusses the relationship between the University of Minnesota Rochester BICB program and The Hormel Institute.

Dr. Anna Sundborger presented at BICB symposium

The 10th Annual Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (BICB) Research Symposium “Harnessing Biological Insights with Data” took place January 12, 2018 at University of Minnesota Rochester. Dr. Anna Sundborger, head of the Cryo-EM and Molecular Cell Biology lab was a keynote speaker.


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