E-Progress Report of The Hormel Institute


In the coming months, you likely will notice excitement growing in the region for The Hormel Institute’s future Live Learning Center that will greatly enhance our global collaborations like never before by bringing together world-class cancer researchers to meet and present their discoveries and ideas in Austin or via technology through state-of-the-art communication systems.  Construction just started this past month yet we already have two international cancer research symposiums scheduled for 2016 that will bring top scientists to the  Live Learning Center’s   250-seat lecture hall  with theater-style seating and a multi-function room. Our top businesses and institutions are already scheduled to use the Live Learning Center and its technology to support the common goals we share for our community and our region. We want and need your help for the Live Learning Center expansion project and for technology that will make possible new research collaborations to accelerate cancer research discoveries. Collaboration is vital for making progress and that is why I share this message with you. As scientists, sharing research discoveries and learning from others’ work will put the pieces together in the highly complex puzzle that is cancer. We have about $536,000 remaining to be raised at the local level for the $4.5 million Live Learning Center, with additional major gift fundraising for the LLC also being secured throughout the region.

We ask you to join us with your tax-deductible support  for this important project. All gifts are welcome and very much appreciated by all who care about finding answers to cancer.  For donors who give $500 and higher, your name will be featured on a new, beautiful donor wall highlighting your support of accelerating cancer research. Thank you all for your great support. We all are “Coming Together for the Cure.”

In friendship,

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


New section leaders being interviewed for growing Institute’s cancer research

About 300 applications have come in from all over the world for faculty positions to lead new cancer research sections at The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota. Candidates for these principal investigator roles have been making individual visits to the Institute since early this spring to spend a day meeting with current section leaders before giving a seminar presentation on their research. The Hormel Institute plans to add three to five cancer research sections this year and another three to five sections in 2016. Each new section typically adds about three to five positions. The Hormel Institute currently is constructing an additional 20 state-of-the-art laboratories on its east side and is expected to double in staff to about 250 employees overall in the coming years. For more information on employment at The Hormel Institute, go to Opportunities.

UMN leader on technology commercialization touts Institute’s role in SE MN

In May, Jay Schrankler, Executive Director of the University of Minnesota’s Office of Technology Commercialization, lauded The Hormel Institute while saying he believes southeast Minnesota has a “jump-start on the future.” Schrankler served as the keynote speaker at the annual meeting of the Development Corporation of Austin, a private nonprofit focused on economic development. He said new companies or entities are one of the best ways to grow the economy, and The Hormel Institute is “well positioned to provide that to the community here.”   For the full story by  KAAL-TV, view, Rochester, Austin on Leading Edge of Development.

MC² gathers for meeting in Minneapolis to hear about cancer-prevention projects

Members of the Minnesota Chemoprevention Consortium (MC²) gathered June 9 at the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis to hear updates on several projects, including research by The Hormel Institute’s Dr. Margot Cleary, leader of the Nutrition & Metabolism section. Cleary presented her team’s breast cancer research comparing the cancer-preventive effects of calorie restriction to those of the Type 2 diabetes drug metformin. Human studies in diabetes had suggested that metformin might prevent breast cancer by acting in a manner similar to calorie restriction. Results from this study, however, indicated that, while calorie restriction implemented in mid-life substantially reduced mammary tumor incidence and delayed tumor development, there was little effect in the study’s mice receiving metformin. Dr. Zigang Dong, Executive Director of The Hormel Institute, is one of the leaders of MC², a collaborative group consisting of researchers from  The Hormel Institute, the University of Minnesota’s   Masonic Cancer Center  in Minneapolis,   University of Minnesota’s   Southern Research and Outreach Center in Waseca,  Mayo Clinic and Hormel Foods Corp.

Hinchcliffe mentoring for national program promoting diversity in science

The Hormel Institute’s Dr. Edward Hinchcliffe, who leads the Cellular Dynamics research section, recently was selected to serve over the next year as a mentor to a younger scientist from Rutgers University under a national program aimed at promoting diversity in science. The American Society for Cell Biology offers the opportunity through its minority affairs initiative called the Faculty Research and Education Development program. It aims to promote grant funding success of junior faculty at institutions with a commitment to recruiting students from backgrounds underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to the field of cell biology. For more, read, Institute section leader to promote diversity in science.

Metastasis or spreading of cancer one focus of research projects at Institute

When cancer spreads, it most commonly travels to the bone, liver and lung, according to the National Cancer Institute. NCI’s website and Facebook page – high-quality resources for cancer-related information, recently posted information about cancer metastasis, including a list of cancer types and where each one typically spreads to in the body.

The Hormel Institute has numerous projects ongoing that study cancer metastasis, including in the  Tumor Microenvironment & Metastasis  research section led by  Dr. Ningling Kang,  who joined the Institute in 2013.  Kang’s team focuses on studying why cancers often spread to the liver. The research section is working to reduce tumor implantation and metastatic growth in the liver by uncovering cellular and molecular mechanisms and identifying therapeutic targets within the liver.


Construction now happening in three locations at The Hormel Institute

Work got underway this past month on The Hormel Institute’s future Live Learning Center and, most recently, digging commenced across the street on The Hormel Foundation’s beautiful, 42-unit apartment complex called Science Park Housing that is expected to open for occupancy in early 2016. Construction workers also are continuing to make progress on the Institute’s east expansion for adding another 20 state-of-the-art laboratories. For more, view photos of the construction activity on The Hormel Institute’s Facebook page.


Memorial motorcycle ride in Iowa to raise funding for Institute’s cancer research

For a second-straight year, the 4th annual Norma Foster Memorial  Ride for a Reason fundraiser has designated The Hormel Institute as the recipient of the proceeds from its event, which will be July 18 in Riceville, Iowa. In 2014, “Ride for a Reason” donated $15,000 in support to The Hormel Institute in memory of Norma Foster, who passed away in 2011 at age 55 from cancer. Aside from the motorcycles and classic cars, the event also will feature live and silent auctions along with raffles and food. For more information, read,  Ride for a Reason.

Golf tournament in memory of area native raising support again for Institute

Family and friends of the late Ryan Gordon, who passed away in 2011 from stomach cancer at age 42, will honor his memory and passion for golf on June 20 by hosting the 3rd annual Ryan Gordon Memorial Golf Tournament at the Cedar River Golf Course in Adams, MN. In its first two years, the memorial event has raised more than $8,500 in support for The Hormel Institute’s cancer research. As with any gift to The Hormel Institute, 100 percent goes directly into cancer research. For full details and registration information, read,  Memorial event in Adams returning to support Institute.

Ellis Middle School makes donation, raise awareness about all cancers

Student Council members at Austin’s Ellis Middle School recently donated $600 as the final part of their extensive participation in the 5th annual Paint the Town Pink  initiative to raise awareness and support for The Hormel Institute’s breast cancer research. During PTTP, Ellis students raised research donation as well as decorated classroom doors with information and colors associated with numerous types of cancer. Students also heard presentations from Institute staff on cancer research. To date, the 2015 PTTP effort has raised more than $190,000 in overall support for breast cancer research. For more, view the check presentation photo with the Ellis Student Council.


PBS leader visits The Hormel Institute during visit to KSMQ in Austin

PBS CEO & President Paula Kerger toured The Hormel Institute on June 1, including a walk-through of the east laboratory expansion underway. Kerger met with Associate Director Dr. Ann M. Bode; section leader Dr. Edward Hinchcliffe and Gail Dennison, Director of Development & Public Relations; to learn more about the Institute’s cancer research as well as share her strong belief in promoting science. Kerger was visiting Austin to celebrate the official launch of KSMQ Public Television’s new high-definition broadcast signal. For more, view photos of Kerger’s visit to the Institute.

Institute welcomes 2015 group of summer intern scientists

Ten college undergraduate students started internships June 8 as part of The Hormel Institute’s S.U.R.E. program(Summer Undergraduate Research Experience). Each intern will have a 10-week, paid internship working alongside a mentor scientist in one of the eight cancer research sections hosting interns this summer. This year’s group of high-achieving interns has come from universities in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana and Missouri. For more information, view the S.U.R.E. application.


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For more information about The Hormel Institute, please contact us at: info@hi.umn.edu
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