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Hormel Institute adds three research sections

By Tim Ruzek

Post-Bulletin, Austin MN

The Hormel Institute announced Thursday that it has added three cancer research sections since a major expansion at the Austin facility last year.

Institute officials are hiring five more faculty section leaders as well as staff positions to support the operations, institute officials said.

The Hormel Institute is part of the University of Minnesota and partners with Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

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The institute employs 108 people, an increase from 60 employees in 2006, officials said. More than 95 percent of its employees live in or within a few miles of Austin.

"We are very pleased to be filling the labs with world class faculty who are excited to be contributing to the research of the Hormel Institute," Zigang Dong, the institute’s executive director, says in a news release. "The beautiful new facility we now enjoy provides a very functional and supportive working environment, and we are deeply thankful to our generous community for providing it."

Among the recent hires at the institute are:

  • Rebecca Morris joined the institute in October and leads the stem cells and cancer laboratory. One of the world’s leading cancer biologists, Morris came from Columbia University in New York City. She lives in Austin and plays in the Community Band.
  • Edward "Ted" Hinchcliffe is an expert microscopist and a leader in the field of live-cell imaging. He heads the cellular dynamics research section. He moved to Austin from the University of Notre Dame with his wife and children. He earned his doctorate at the University of Minnesota.
  • Yibin Deng joined the institute from M.D. Anderson in Houston, Texas, the world’s largest medical research center. Deng leads the new cell death and cancer genetics section and brings expertise in the field of genetics. Deng aims to identify new targets for cancer-specific treatment and novel strategies for cancer prevention, according to the institute.

In 2008, the Hormel Institute completed a $23.4 million expansion and renovation project. The Hormel Institute is featured on the cover of this month’s Cancer Research, one of the world’s top research journals.

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