E-Progress Report of The Hormel Institute


Construction is nearing completion on the 2014-16 Expansion of The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota, and we would like to share the tremendous progress that has been made with supporters of our world-renowned cancer research. On Saturday, Nov. 7, The Hormel Institute will announce at 1 PM a major gift for our future Live Learning Center being built on the Institute’s west side. Goldy Gopher will be on hand to help us celebrate and take photos with attendees. This event will run from 1-3 PM and is open to the public, with visitors getting an early inside peak – the only such opportunity until the June 1 grand opening – at the Live Learning Center’s multipurpose room and 250-seat lecture hall. We are very excited to share the news of this major gift and hope it will inspire many others to donate to the Live Learning Center to support this much-needed facility focused on sharing and collaborating on cancer research at a global level. Please consider a tax-deductible gift this fall to the Live Learning Center that will greatly enhance our research and scientific collaborations throughout the world. Gifts of $500 or higher will be honored on a beautiful donor wall in the Live Learning Center. Those who give $1,000 or more will be invited to a historic reception for the first International Cancer Research Conference held in the Live Learning Center as part of the June 1, 2016, Grand Opening for the 2014-16 Expansion. We also encourage you to tune in to KSMQ public television at 7 PM this Thursday, Oct. 22, to watch a special program titled “First Look” that will give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at The Hormel Institute’s $4.5 million Live Learning Center and $27 million East Expansion of an additional 20 state-of-the-art cancer research labs as well as feature interviews with Institute leaders.

Thank you for your interest and support. We all are “Coming Together for the Cure.”

In friendship,

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


Dr. Hoeppner joins Institute’s faculty, opens section focused on lung cancer treatment

The Hormel Institute recently added its 14th research section with Dr. Luke Hoeppner starting his Molecular Biology & Translation Cancer Research section mainly focused on finding better ways to treat lung cancer. Hoeppner previously conducted research for more than five years at Mayo Clinic in Rochester and is funded through 2018 by a five-year, $927,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death for U.S. men and women. For more details, read “New research section joins The Hormel Institute.

Masonic director Dr. Yee, researchers talk collaboration with Institute leaders

Dr. Douglas Yee, Executive Director of the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota in Minneapolis visited The Hormel Institute on Sept. 22 with other Masonic researchers to discuss collaborations and translational cancer research projects that translate basic-science discoveries into lifesaving treatments. The Hormel Institute’s Executive Director Dr. Zigang Dong, Associate Director Dr. Ann M. Bode and other Institute section leaders took part in the meeting. Masonic and Institute researchers then walked over to the neighboring Hormel Foods Corporate North complex for a quarterly meeting of the Minnesota Chemopreventive Consortium also known as MC². The collaborative group consists of members from The Hormel Institute; Masonic Cancer Center; Mayo Clinic; Hormel Foods; and the University of Minnesota’s Southern Research and Outreach Center in Waseca.

Two Institute section leaders present research through Masonic’s seminar series

Two of The Hormel Institute’s section leaders – Dr. Shujun Liu and Dr. Sergio Gradilone, both associated professors – each had the opportunity to present their cancer research for the weekly Cancer Center Seminar Series offered in Minneapolis by the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota. Liu presented Oct. 6 on one of his projects focused on a mechanism that controls the fate of lung cancer cells. On Oct. 13, Gradilone presented his work on a tumor-suppressing organelle known as the cholangiocyte primary cilium. This spring, Gradilone was awarded a five-year, $1.7 million federal grant from the National Cancer Institute for his studies on primary cilium, specifically related to bile duct cancer.

Internal seminar series at Institute features updates on cancer research projects

Recent internal seminars at The Hormel Institute featured ongoing research related to an aggressive form of childhood brain cancer and prostate cancer. On Sept. 24, Dr. Charlie Day, who works in the Cellular Dynamics section led by Dr. Edward Hinchcliffe, presented on a potential driver of pediatric brain cancer, a project funded by a U.S. Department of Defense grant. Dr. Mohammad Saleem (Bhat) then presented Oct. 8 on the implications of his ongoing research on prostate cancer therapies. The Hormel Institute’s internal lectures are offered every other week and aim to generate feedback on projects as well as foster scientific collaborations.

Breast cancer one of Institute’s main focuses for research projects

With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it’s a good time to remind everyone that breast cancer is a major focus area of research at The Hormel Institute. Numerous projects related to better prevention, detection and treatment of breast cancer are ongoing at the Institute, with major funding from federal grants or seed grant support through the region’s annual Paint the Town Pink initiative. These seed grants are awarded to Institute researchers through an application process to greatly assist them in exploring new ideas for fighting breast cancer and in gathering preliminary data that helps in applying for major research grants. For more information, read more about five of the PTTP-funded projects. You also can support these projects by donating online directly to The Hormel Institute’s breast cancer research fund.

Targeted therapies major focus of Institute’s cutting-edge cancer research

Targeted cancer therapies are drugs or other substances that block the growth of cancer and the spread of this devastating disease by interfering with specific molecules or molecular targets, according to the National Cancer Institute. These targets are involved in the growth, progression and spread of cancer. Targeted therapies – which are studied extensively at The Hormel Institute – are a cornerstone of precision medicine, which uses information about a person’s genes and proteins to prevent, diagnose and treat disease. The Hormel Institute is one of the leaders in research focused on targeted cancer therapies, especially in using natural compounds or phytochemicals found in foods, such as ginger, grapes and green tea. NCI recently posted online extensive information on targeted therapies and how they differ from standard chemotherapy.


Progress continues on The Hormel Institute’s 2014-16 expansion

Construction progress is continuing on The Hormel Institute’s east and west additions that are part of the 2014-16 expansion. Fencing has come down from both sites, and new sidewalks and parking areas along the east side have been created while dozens of construction workers continue the last phase of work on the Live Learning Center (west side) and East Expansion of 20 state-of-the-art research labs. Windows have been installed on the new Live Learning Center and much progress has been made on the interior of the new addition that will host a multipurpose room adjacent to the main lobby and a 250-seat lecture hall with theater-style seating and global-communications technologies. Workers also have started constructing the second floor of a 42-unit apartment complex being led by The Hormel Foundation across the street from The Hormel Institute’s east addition. For more, view the latest photos of the expansion progress.

Expansion leads to numerous job opportunities at The Hormel Institute

An array of positions are open for applications at The Hormel Institute for full-time status as a University of Minnesota employee. Jobs include three section leader positions along with facilities manager, lab manager, two postdoctoral associate positions and junior scientist. Two scientist positions are in the new lab section of Dr. Luke Hoeppener; another two scientist positions are in the section led by Dr. James Robinson, who joined the Institute in late 2014. Additional jobs are expected to be posted in the months ahead due to the 2014-16 expansion that will double employment at the Institute in the coming years. For more, view The Hormel Institute’s job opportunities and share them with others who might be interested in joining our world-renowned cancer research team.


‘Give Now’ link on Institute website offers new webpage with five donor fund options

Supporters of The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota’s cancer research now have an enhanced way to give a donation online thanks to a new webpage showing the Institute’s five donor funds. Donors can choose to make gift to The Hormel Institute’s fund for general cancer research; 2014-16 Expansion/Facility Improvement; breast cancer research; prostate cancer research; and the SURE summer internship program. As with any research gift to The Hormel Institute, 100 percent goes directly into cancer research.

Paint the Town Pink announces $200,000 goal for 2016, gives dates for main events

After raising more than $550,000 in five years for breast cancer research, the Paint the Town Pink initiative is returning for a sixth year with an even higher fundraising goal of $200,000 and with numerous new communities joining the pink effort. This year’s Paint the Town Pink officially will run from Jan. 30 to Feb. 14 but many events also will happen before and after those dates to raise awareness and support for The Hormel Institute’s world-renowned breast cancer research. Two of the top PTTP fundraising events have dates set for 2016: the 4th annual Plunging for Pink polar plunge will take place on Jan. 30 at Austin’s East Side Lake and the Austin Bruins hockey team’s 6th annual Paint the Rink Pink game is set for Feb. 6 in Austin. For more, read “Dates announced for 6th annual Paint the Town Pink.”

Sterling Drug stores in MN, IA start fundraiser for Institute’s breast cancer research

Austin-based Sterling Drug is helping significantly to spread Paint the Town Pink in the region with a new fundraiser during this month of October – nationally Breast Cancer Awareness Month – at the company’s 17 stores. Sterling Drug Stores and the Astrup Family Foundation are teaming up to raise funds for The Hormel Institute’s breast cancer research by selling Breast Cancer Awareness pins at Sterling stores. Each purchased pin will lead to a donation getting matched by the Astrup Family Foundation. Sterling has stores 15 stores in Minnesota – Adrian, Albert Lea, Austin, Buffalo, Caledonia, Fairmont, Faribault, Harmony, Hastings, La Crescent, Northfield, Owatonna, Rushford, Spring Grove and Worthington – as well as in two Iowa cities – Cresco and Osage. For more, view the pink pin online.

Brownsdale PTTP’s ‘Run with the Breast of Us’ returning with Halloween theme

Running or walking to support Brownsdale’s Paint the Town Pink initiative will have a Halloween twist to it this year for the 3rd annual Run with the Breast of Us 5K run/walk. The event will start and end at the Brownsdale Elementary School. Awards will be given to the best adult costume and best children’s costume this year along with prizes for the top two runners in each age category for males and females.

Ladies Auxiliary VFW Minnesota donates nearly $11,900 to Institute’s research

As part of its continuing support to The Hormel Institute, the Ladies Auxiliary Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary this fall donated about $11,847 to the Institute’s cutting-edge cancer research. In six years, the Auxiliary group has donated nearly $75,000 overall in support for The Hormel Institute’s cancer research.


Dr. Gradilone to present Nov. 7 at free cancer education event; register in advance

The Hormel Institute’s Dr. Sergio Gradilone, a section leader, will share his cancer research as one of the presenters Nov. 7 at the 4th annual Lloyd and Ardis Peterson Cancer Education Symposium. The free event will run from 8 a.m. to noon at Albert Lea’s Wedgewood Cove Golf Course. Registration is required and can be done by calling 507-668-2046. Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea organizes the annual symposium.

Dr. Hinchcliffe discusses life as Institute researcher on KSMQ’s ‘On Q’ program

KSMQ public television’s “On Q” program ran a special edition featuring an interesting and extensive interview with The Hormel Institute’s Dr. Edward Hinchcliffe about his cancer research and the life of a scientist, among other things. Hinchcliffe leads the Cellular Dynamics research section, coming to The Hormel Institute in 2008 from a faculty position at the University of Notre Dame.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month tips for understanding changes, cancer

Signs of breast cancer include a lump or change in the breast. Breast changes, however, also are common and most breast changes are not cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. As part of the month of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, NCI is providing a variety of information on its Facebook page about the disease, including its health guide titled “Understanding Breast Changes.”

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