Hormel Institute’s leader to “step away” from top role; Dr. Zigang Dong to focus on new dermatology clinic

AUSTIN, Minn. (KTTC) — A big change announced Wednesday at Hormel Institute in Austin.  Dr. Zigang Dong–who has been leading the cancer research institute for 18 years–is stepping aside from his administrative duties.

In a statement, the University of Minnesota said after growing the research institute into its prominent role, Dr. Dong will re-focus on creating a blueprint for a dermatology clinic within the Institute.  He’ll also continue to lead his lab focusing on skin cancer prevention and therapy, and molecular mechanisms of carcinogenesis and the prevention of cancer.

Dr. Ann Bode will serve as interim director of the Hormel Institute while a search is underway for a new leader.

The U of M’s Vice President for Research, Christopher J. Cramer, said Dr. Dong will begin the transition immediately.

“As I told the Institute staff at an assembly today, we in the Office of the Vice President for Research will work closely with them to ensure a smooth transition and to maintain the foundation of success built around cancer research that Dr. Dong has helped create,” said Cramer. “The University, together with the Hormel Foundation, will begin a search for new leadership at The Hormel Institute as soon as possible, and we will keep the Institutes’ staff and all relevant stakeholders apprised of our next steps.”

The Hormel Institute is now home to 130 cancer researchers and 16 research sections, and has grown significantly under Dr. Dong’s time in charge.

“The Hormel Foundation wishes to extend our thanks to Dr. Dong for his remarkable contributions to the Hormel Institute in this position. Dr. Dong and the team at the Hormel Institute have worked tirelessly to tackle the scourge of cancer and to attempt to identify causes, preventions and cures for this omnipresent disease,” said Jeff Ettinger, Chair of The Hormel Foundation.

Noel Sederstrom

Noel Sederstrom

Noel Sederstrom joined the KTTC-TV staff as News Director in February, 2008. He's a native Minnesotan, having grown up on a farm near Litchfield, and also spending a lot of time on Lake Vermilion near Tower-Soudan, where his grandfather Gust Saari worked in the Soudan Underground Mine. After studying journalism at the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis, Noel worked as a reporter, anchor, producer and Executive Producer at television stations in Duluth, Little Rock, Buffalo, Louisville and Kalamazoo, Michigan. Noel was the News Director at WWMT-TV in Kalamazoo for seven of his 18 years at the CBS affiliate before returning to Minnesota. He and his wife Cindy have two grown children and make their home in Rochester. Email Noel at nsederstrom@kttc.com

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