Dr. Rafael Contreras, head of the Genome Instability & Chromosome Biology lab at The Hormel Institute, has received a $50,000 Grant-in-Aid Award from University of Minnesota’s Office of the Vice President for Research. But this grant will not only benefit Dr. Contreras and his research. The grant will be used to purchase a NS300 nanoparticle tracking analyzer (NTA), a high-resolution nanoparticle cell imaging system, which will be shared by all research labs at The Hormel Institute.

The NTA will be used by several faculty and staff that work together in cancer research studies. The primary users will be Dr. Rafael Contreras, Dr. George Aslanadi, Dr. Rhoderick Brown, and all researchers at The Hormel Institute research in virology and cancer. The NS300 NTA is an important piece of technology for The Hormel Institute because it is absolutely essential for several researchers to generate data required to acquire major external research funding or renew major federal R01 grants.

This technology will be used to estimate the amount, size, distribution, concentration, mobility and kinetics of biological nanoparticle-sized samples to characterize their contribution to health impact and disease processes. These particles include liposomes, microvesicles, exosomes, and viruses.

The Grant-in-Aid of Research, Artistry and Scholarship program funds independent research of faculty at University of Minnesota. The program aims to fund new shared equipment, research of new faculty members, new directions of research, multicultural research, research in fields with little external funding, research whose funding has temporarily lapsed.