Renowned cancer researcher visits The Hormel Institute
Published 10:24 am Wednesday, June 11, 2014
A fantastic research center
Hormel Institute scientists got a chance to chat with one of the most well-known cancer research scientists in the U.S. Tuesday when Dr. Peter K. Vogt of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., stopped in Austin.
“It’s a fantastic research center,” Vogt said of the Hormel Institute. “You’ve got world-class science going on here.”
Vogt is famous for laying the groundwork for much of the genetics research on cancer when he discovered proof that cancer viruses are caused by specific genes in a person’s DNA. Other scientists built on Vogt’s work to prove people carry inactive cancer-causing genes, which once activated can create and spread cancer.
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Vogt was in Austin to give a lecture about one such gene he discovered in 1997, as well as to meet with scientists and discuss research. Vogt said he was impressed by the research Institute scientists are doing.
“He gave us a lot of advice,” Dr. Zigang Dong, executive director of The Hormel Institute, said. “Our scientists met with him early [Tuesday] morning to share their work.”
Dong said the Institute was pleased to host such an important academic and scholastic figure. The Institute will also receive several other scientists for similar lectures and research discussions throughout the summer.
The visits come as the Institute moves forward on a $28.5 million expansion to add 20 new labs and more than 120 new jobs over the next 10 years. Institute officials and political leaders celebrated the project’s groundbreaking on May 28, and construction is expected to start later this month into July.
The expansion project could include an 8,300 square-foot auditorium on the northwest corner of the Institute, which could have 200-250 seats. Institute officials will likely launch a $3 million fundraising campaign soon for the project.
Dong said the auditorium would likely be an important asset to the Institute, in part to host visiting scientists and academic figures who could give public talks on scientific research. The auditorium would also likely be used by Institute officials on a weekly basis or more, as the Institute could host facility-wide meetings more easily.
“It would be very important,” Dong said.