E-Progress Report of The Hormel Institute


One year from now, The Hormel Institute will be hosting its second international cancer research conference of 2016 in our new Live Learning Center being built on our west side. Dozens of the best cancer researchers from around the world will gather in Austin to share their discoveries and ideas related to finding better ways to prevent, detect and treat cancer more quickly. These global research symposiums – planned for June and September 2016 at The Hormel Institute – typically are hosted in some of the world’s biggest cities, such as Beijing or Houston. This new Live Learning Center – a 250-seat lecture hall with theater-style seating and state-of-the-art global communication technologies – enables our Institute to host such an important and large event as these international research symposiums. The collaboration and learning that will happen through the Live Learning Center will accelerate our fight against cancer. Please consider a gift toward The Hormel Institute’s Live Learning Center to support this vital technology that will greatly enhance our research and allow our future overall staff of about 250 to gather in the same room. We ask you to join us with your tax-deductible support. All gifts are welcome and much appreciated. Donors who give $500 or higher will be honored on a beautiful donor wall in the Live Learning Center. Those who give $1,000 or more also 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.
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. Saleem awarded $380,000, two-year federal grant for prostate cancer research

A new federal grant awarded to The Hormel Institute’s Dr. Mohammad Saleem, (Bhat), will focus on making progress toward more effective ways to diagnosis and treat prostate cancer, particularly for African-American men, who are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with and dying from the disease than any other racial or ethnic group in the United States. Saleem, who leads to the Molecular Chemoprevention & Therapeutics section, received a $380,000, two-year grant from the National Cancer Institute to further investigate the ROBO1 gene identified by Saleem and his team as a potential biomarker for diagnosing prostate cancer and a target for treating the disease once it has metastasized or spread in the body. Saleem’s research has found that African-Americans are missing the ROBO1 gene when prostate cancer has spread. For more details on Saleem’s project, read “Prostate cancer focus of new research grant.”

Institute’s Dr. Morris gives month-long, internal course on studying tissues

Dr. Rebecca Morris, leader of the Stem Cells & Cancer section at The Hormel Institute, last month completed her free offering on introducing fellow Institute scientists to histopathology, which is the study of tissues from the body under a microscope to look for signs of diseases, such as cancer. Morris, who offered the course twice a week in the Institute’s main seminar room, is a morphologist by training and her lab uses many histopathological techniques to study stem cells and cancer. While at Columbia University in New York, Morris participated for four years in team teaching of histology to first-year medical students and graduate students in pathology. Participants in the Institute’s course learned about major techniques in histopathology along with basic microscopic anatomy, including the four major tissue types, how to identify many of the major organs, and the basics of inflammation and cancer.

Institute section leaders, guest present internal seminars on cancer research

As part of The Hormel Institute’s ongoing lunch seminar series for faculty and staff every other week, Drs. Shujun Liu and Ningling Kang of the Institute each gave presentations in the past month along with Dr. Shahrukh Hashmi of Mayo Clinic. Liu, leader of the Cancer Epigenetics & Experimental Therapeutics section, presented Aug. 13 on the “Role of Aberrant Epigenetics in Leukemia and the Promise of Nanomedicine.” Hashmi, director of Mayo Clinic’s Long-Term Follow Up Clinic, gave a seminar Aug. 27 on “Accelerated Aging in Stem Cell Transplant Recipients.” Kang, leader of the Tumor Microenvironment & Metastasis section, gave a presentation Sept. 10 titled “Mechanism of Vasodilator-stimulated phosphor-protein (VASP) in promotion of liver metastasis.” Her work focuses on why cancers too often spread or metastasize to the liver, ultimately leading to death. The internal lectures aim to generate feedback on projects and foster scientific collaborations.


UMN President Kaler visits The Hormel Institute, sees expansion progress

University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler visited The Hormel Institute on Aug. 27 to meet our faculty and staff as well as meet with local state legislators and leaders from The Hormel Foundation. It was President Kaler’s second visit to The Hormel Institute since taking office in 2011 – the same year he made his first visit to the Institute. For more, read President Kaler’s letter to the editor in the Austin Daily Herald and view photos of his visit.

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

Construction workers continue to make great progress on The Hormel Institute’s east 20-laboratory addition and west-side Live Learning Center, a 250-seat lecture hall and multipurpose conference room. Construction on both projects – totaling about $31.5 million – remains on track to be done by late this year, with final interior details completed before the June 1, 2016, grand opening celebration and historic first international cancer conference in the new Live Learning Center. Workers also have started constructing the first floor of a 42-unit apartment complex being led by The Hormel Foundation just across the street from The Hormel Institute’s east addition. For more, view the latest photos of the expansion progress.

More employment opportunities available at growing Institute

As construction continues to double the size of The Hormel Institute’s facilities, the additional space also is expected to nearly double the Institute’s overall employment in the coming years. Eight employment opportunities – both scientific and non-scientific – currently are posted by The Hormel Institute, with additional jobs expected to be posted in the months ahead. Those hired for the positions become University of Minnesota employees through The Hormel Institute. For more, view The Hormel Institute’s current job postings and share with others who might be interested in joining our world-renowned cancer research team.


Karl Potach Memorial Golf Tournament donates $55,000 to The Hormel Institute

Researchers at The Hormel Institute will continue to make significant progress against childhood cancer thanks to a $55,000 donation from this year’s Karl Potach Memorial Golf Tournament. The 18th annual Karl Tourney was Aug. 17 at the Austin Country Club in memory of Karl Potach, who passed away at age 4 from a form of pediatric cancer known as Wilms’ tumor, also known as nephroblastoma. The Hormel Institute’s Executive Director Dr. Zigang Dong and Associate Director Dr. Ann M. Bode spoke at the event’s dinner/auction. Overall, nearly $372,000 has been donated since 2008 by the Karl R. Potach Foundation to The Hormel Institute to support cutting-edge research into Wilms’ tumor. In all 18 years, the event has raised nearly $900,000 for childhood cancer research and numerous other pediatric projects. For more, read, “Karl Tourney another major success.

‘Ride for a Reason” in Iowa raises more than $21,000 for Institute’s cancer research

A ride through northeast Iowa in July with more than 100 motorcycles led to a $21,000 donation by the family and friends of the late Norma Foster, who passed away in 2011 following a two-year battle with breast cancer. The 4th annual Norma Foster Memorial “Ride for a Reason” out of Riceville, Iowa, drew about 250 participants on a nearly 100-mile ride. Dr. Zigang Dong, Executive Director of The Hormel Institute, accepted this year’s donation from Norma’s husband Dean Foster and family members last month at the Institute. Overall, the event has donated more than $37,000 to The Hormel Institute in the past two years and about $71,000 in total over four years for cancer research. For more, read, “Ride for a Reason makes major gift.

Hormel Foods Austin Plant employees raise $4,200 through annual tourney

An annual golf tournament by Hormel Foods Austin Plant employees and suppliers recently raised $4,200 to support The Hormel Institute’s world-renowned cancer research. Plant Manager Tim Fritz and other employees presented the donation Aug. 28 to Dr. Sergio Gradilone, a section leader who accepted the gift on behalf of the Institute. The annual Deryl Arnold Memorial Golf Tournament – in memory of a former manager of the Austin plant – now has raised more than $21,000 since 2009 for the Institute’s work. This year’s tourney was Aug. 3 at Oaks Golf Club in Hayfield. The event is just one of several ways the Hormel Austin Plant raises support for the Institute throughout the year. As with any donation to The Hormel Institute, 100 percent directly funds cancer research.

‘Hunt for a Cure’ returns to raise support for breast cancer research

All pheasant hunters are encouraged to register soon for the “Hunt for a Cure” hunt Oct. 3 at a game preserve near LeRoy, Minn., near the Minnesota-Iowa border. Volunteers with the Mower County Habitat & Pheasants Forever are sponsoring the event to raise awareness and support through the annual “Paint the Town Pink” initiative for The Hormel Institute’s cutting-edge breast cancer research. This year’s hunt will be at the Three Arrows Game Preserve owned by Ben Jacobsen. Entry fee is $125 per hunter.

Farmer John’s pumpkin patch to host pink festivities for PTTP

Pink pumpkins and lots of picture opportunities will part of a new, two-day fundraising event hosted the weekend of Sept. 26-27 by the Austin area’s highly popular Farmer John’s Pumpkin Patch. Located northwest of Austin (90537 273rd Street), Farmer John’s will offer the “Painting the Pumpkin Patch Pink” festivities from noon to 6 p.m. each day, with pink tractor-drawn wagon rides and other fun activities for families. Proceeds from the two-day event will be donated to The Hormel Institute as part of the annual “Paint the Town Pink” initiative to raise awareness and support for breast cancer research.


Resources available as September serves as Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in U.S. men after skin cancer and is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths for American men after lung cancer. This month of September nationally is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. The Hormel Institute has numerous research sections working on projects related to better prevention, detection and treatment of prostate cancer. Dr. Yibin Deng, leader of the Cell Death & Cancer Genetics section at the Institute, is one of those investigators studying cancer, including a project that is focused on an enzyme as a potential therapeutic target for prostate cancer patients who carry Pten and p53 gene mutations. The National Cancer Institute has great resources available on prostate cancer, including on risk factors and prevention; screening; treatment; details on hormone therapy for the disease; and much more.

Bubbles, scientific featured by Institute at recent Austin ArtWorks Festival

As part of the 4th annual Austin ArtWorks Festival, The Hormel Institute once again displayed colorful scientific images taken at a microscopic level during Aug. 22-23 event at the Historic Downtown Power Plant. Related to the festival, The Hormel Institute also had a giant, wooden beaker with bubbles floating out of the top of it at a bubbles-blowing event Aug. 22 in downtown Austin.


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