Regents: ‘Great progress’; U of M board tours The Hormel Institute during visit
Published 10:38 am Thursday, November 17, 2016
Members of the Minnesota Board of Regents on Wednesday said citizens here should be proud of the work and progress in cancer research done by The Hormel Institute in Austin.
“This is a gem,” said Dean Johnson, chairman of the Regent board. “People from around the world are here to work.”
And, he added, those people are working with not only their colleagues, but other research scientists in other countries.
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“We ought to be proud of the progress in research being done on various diseases, especially cancer,” he said.
The regents were in town to touch base with the Institute, who collaborates with both the Mayo and the University of Minnesota on cancer research.
Regents regularly visit schools, colleges, research facilities and other outreach centers to which the university is connected. The last time the regents were here was about four years ago, according to recollections from a few of the regents.
“I can feel the excitement” from scientists working to finally cure cancer, especially in the areas of colon and prostate cancer, said Johnson.
“I see such an increased capacity for research, right here in Austin, Minnesota,” he said.
He said the institute sets a good example for other research institutions.
“We cannot operate in silence any longer,” Johnson said. “We are limited in resources, limited in manpower. What is discovered here — or anywhere — should be shared.”
Johnson said that he has felt the emotional pain when losing a loved to cancer. That happened to him when his first wife was taken by the disease.
He said he talks with researchers who tell him they’ve almost cured the disease — but just “almost.”
“We have to find a cure; we will find a cure,” he said. “And it might happen right here in Austin, Minnesota.”
The group began its day in conversation with Dr. Zigang Dong, executive director of the institute. After a few remarks to the media, the seven regents who attended the event took a tour of the facility.
A favorite spot was getting a look at the new $4.23 million cryo-EM microscope, one of the largest microscopes in the U.S. The scope was recently installed and its testing completed.