Hormel Institute asks state for $19.8 mil for bio-imaging improvements

Hormel Institute asks state for $19.8 mil for bio-imaging improvements

The Hormel Institute is asking the Capital Investment Committee for $19.8 million to build a facility dedicated to bio-imaging technology.

(ABC 6 News) – The Minnesota House of Representative’s Capital Investment Committee stopped in Austin on Tuesday as part of their fall tour to hear investment proposals for a 2024 bonding bill.

In particular, that stop included a visit to the Hormel Institute, which is home to one-of-a-kind bio-imaging technology that can be applied to advance cancer treatments. To help develop this tech even further, its asking the committee for $19.8 million to build a facility dedicated to this type of research.

“Bio-imaging technology are technologies that let you look at the structures of life,” said Hormel Institute Executive Director Bob Clarke. “Whether that structure be a cell, or part of a cell or a molecule within a cell that does something important.”

Clarke says this tech helps researchers at the institute study cancer cells.

“If you know what form the shape of something is, you can begin to understand how it works in ways that you can’t if you can’t see it,” said Clarke.

The Minnesota Bio-Imaging Center Project has already begun phase one, hiring staff and obtaining state-of-the-art equipment. The next step is to build a facility for the technology to call home.

Committee Chair Fue Lee (DFL) said he was excited to learn about the work the institute is doing in pancreatic cancer research.

“That’s a cancer that impacted my dad, who is no longer with us, and so I think that this is really important for us to take a look at how could this be of help for not just the local community here, but all Minnesotans,” said Lee.

If the proposal for funding is approved, the center will support research around the state and throughout the Midwest.

The committee will put together its budget next spring and decide whether to go ahead with funding for the project.