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Dayton, Franken and Klobuchar in Austin to kick off Hormel Institute expansion

The cancer research institute’s expansion will add 20 state-of-the-art laboratories and better space for The Hormel Institute’s International Center of Research Technology.

The Hormel Institute, a cancer-research facility in Austin, Minn., will nearly double in size after a major expansion that starts today.

Gov. Mark Dayton and U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken are among the politicians and dignitaries on hand for the noon groundbreaking ceremonies for the expansion, which is scheduled to be finished in August 2015.

The state committed $13.5 million in bonding money in 2012 for the expansion and the Hormel Foundation has put up $15 million for the project. The Hormel Foundation also will contribute $8 million to hire 150 new faculty and staff, bringing the total employment to about 250.

The expansion will add 20 laboratories and better space for The Hormel Institute’s International Center of Research Technology, which includes two IBM supercomputers along with other cutting-edge technologies that accelerate cancer research discoveries.

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The institute is a major research unit of the University of Minnesota, and has partnerships with the Mayo Clinic and IBM.

Dr. Zigang Dong, Executive Director of the Institute, said in a statement:

“All of us at The Hormel Institute are profoundly excited for what the future holds with this new expansion, as our cancer research holds tremendous potential to improve how humans can prevent and treat cancer. We are deeply grateful to The Hormel Foundation and State of Minnesota for coming together for the cure by supporting this project that will accelerate cancer-research discoveries while enhancing the state’s position as a global leader in bioscience.”

Institute officials are now looking for additional funding to build a new, 250-seat lecture hall to help bring scientists from around the world to Austin to share research and collaborate on cancer and other diseases.