E-Progress Report of The Hormel Institute

Fundraising initiative launched to raise $560,000 over next year for technology in Institute’s future Live Learning Center addition


Mr. Gary Ray, Chair of The Hormel Foundation (pictured above), is the very supportive and visionary leader of the escalating growth of The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota in Austin. A few weeks ago, Mr. Ray led a groundbreaking ceremony for The Hormel Foundation’s new Science Park Housing just across the street from The Hormel Institute for a beautiful, 42-unit housing complex in preparation for the Institute’s staff, which will nearly double over the new few years. On May 5, Mr. Ray led a celebration of construction starting on The Hormel Institute’s $4.5 million Live Learning Center off the Institute’s west side followed by tours of the 20 new laboratories currently under construction. The Hormel Foundation is providing $13.5 million to match the State of Minnesota’s funding for the lab expansion and also is giving $1.5 million for the Live Learning Center. Part of the 2014-16 expansion project, the LLC includes a 250-seat lecture hall with theater-style seating and state-of-the-art, global communication technology along with a multi-function room. Gary & Pat Ray are major donors for the Live Learning Center along with several businesses and individuals who have supported the project with the campaign just beginning. We sincerely hope everyone considers a tax-deductible gift in support of the Live Learning Center to help enhance The Hormel Institute’s research collaborations as it provides the means to share research and learn from scientists around the world to fight cancer. We truly all are “Coming Together for the Cure.” Thanks for all your support.

In friendship,

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


$1.7 million grant awarded for Institute’s colorectal cancer research

Executive Director Dr. Zigang Dong this spring received a five-year grant totaling more than $1.7 million to continue his team’s supercomputer-assisted development of agents that are more effective and less toxic for colorectal cancer prevention and treatment. National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, awarded the grant. Through the use of the Institute’s two IBM supercomputers, researchers have discovered three small molecules highly effective at suppressing colon cancer cell growth by inhibiting β-catenin, an enzyme strongly expressed in many cancer cell types that promotes growth and tumor formation. For more information, read $1.7 million grant awarded to Institute.

Institute discovery shows aspirin’s cancer-preventive actions

Taking aspirin reduces a person’s risk of colorectal cancer but the molecular mechanisms involved have remained unknown until a recent discovery by The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota. The work led by The Hormel Institute’s Executive Director Dr. Zigang Dong and Associate Director Dr. Ann M. Bode, who co-lead the Cellular & Molecular Biology research section, recently was published in EBioMedicine journal. Their team discovered that aspirin might exert its chemopreventive activity against colorectal cancer, at least partially, by normalizing the expression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in gastrointestinal precancerous lesions. For more information, read “Institute discovers how aspirin fights cancer.

Numerous Institute projects shared at major cancer research conference

Scientists from The Hormel Institute joined about 18,000 other cancer researchers from more than 60 countries in April for the 106th annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). Institute researchers shared results from numerous projects related to cancer of the colon, lung, prostate, bile duct and blood (leukemia). Section leaders from The Hormel Institute who had research shared at the conference, included Drs. Zigang Dong, Ann M. Bode, Sergio Gradilone, Shujun Liu and Mohammad Saleem (Bhat). For more information, read “Institute researchers to present at AACR.”

New scientific seminar series starts for Institute faculty, staff

The Hormel Institute’s Main Seminar Room was packed this week with faculty and staff for the first scientific seminar presentation in a series that will be offered twice a month. Dr. Sergio Gradilone, who leads the Cancer Cell Biology & Translational Research section at the Institute, created the seminar series as a great way to learn what other researchers are doing; get input from others on unpublished scientific data; and, most importantly, foster collaborations, which he says is “the key to surviving in today’s research environment and doing more meaningful research.” For photos and more information, view our Facebook post on the seminar.


Plans unveiled for The Hormel Foundation’s ‘Science Park’ neighborhood

Just across the street from The Hormel Institute, a beautiful, 42-unit apartment complex called Science Park Housing will be built over the coming year by a wholly owned subsidiary of The Hormel Foundation. In April, project leaders announced plans for the project at a groundbreaking ceremony in an open block just east of The Hormel Institute. With the Institute’s ongoing expansion expected to double its employment over the coming years to nearly 250, officials said quality rental housing is needed in Austin. To view drawings of the project and for more information, read “Foundation expands Science Park neighborhood.”


5th annual ‘Paint the Town Pink’ tops $500,000 overall in 5 years

More than $500,000 has been raised in five years now for The Hormel Institute’s cutting-edge breast cancer research thanks to the “Paint the Town Pink” initiative that started in Austin and has spread to nearby communities. This year’s PTTP – the 5th annual – raised more than $189,000, the highest total yet for the initiative. Major fundraising events were the Austin Bruins hockey team’s Paint the Rink Pink game, which started the PTTP initiative in 2011, along with the “Plunging for Pink” polar plunge, “Fishing for a Cure,” Hormel Foods Corp.’s plant and corporate employee fundraisers; and the Adams PTTP and Brownsdale PTTP communitywide initiatives.  For more information, read, “5th annual ‘Paint the Town Pink’ raises over $189,000.”

AgStar Fund for Rural America continues $10,000 annual support

The AgStar Fund for Rural America recently donated $10,000 to support The Hormel Institute’s cancer research, marking $50,000 overall now donated since 2011. AgStar Fund for Rural America is the corporate-giving program of AgStar Financial Services. For more information, read, “Thank you, AgStar Fund for Rural America.

Annual update approaching for Donor Recognition Wall, Cancer Memorial Wall

The Hormel Institute’s annual updating of its beautiful Donor Recognition Wall and Cancer Memorial Wall will start in early June. Both walls are prominently displayed in The Hormel Institute’s main lobby and require a minimum donation or lifetime giving level of $300. Those who would like to be part of this year’s wall updates should contact The Hormel Institute before June 1. Anyone interested in donating or learning more about the walls can contact The Hormel Institute at 507-437-9601 or info@hi.umn.edu.


Institute scientists make annual visit to work with middle-school students

Dr. Edward “Ted” Hinchcliffe and senior lab technician Todd Schuster of The Hormel Institute made their annual visit to Austin’s Ellis Middle School in April to talk about science and work directly with students in the school’s science laboratories. The annual Ellis visit by Hinchcliffe and Schuster is part of The Hormel Institute’s extensive educational outreach efforts throughout the year that also include science fair judging; hosting Austin 6th-graders for a full day of tours; and providing paid summer lab internships for undergraduate college students through our S.U.R.E. program, among other efforts. For more information, view KTTC’s story “Hormel Institute Outreach Program shows students exciting science career paths.


Institute families experiencing ‘baby boom’ in recent years

As The Hormel Institute undergoes construction to double the size of its cancer research facilities and overall employment in Austin, Institute families have been experiencing an expansion of their own. A “baby boom” of sorts has been happening at The Hormel Institute, with more than a dozen babies born in the past few years. For photos and more information, read “Baby Boom” in “Austin Living” magazine on pages 20-21.


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