Dr. Robert Clarke of Georgetown University named next Executive Director of Hormel Institute

Dr. Robert Clarke of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., has been named the next Executive Director of The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota.

Dr. Clarke, an internationally recognized leader in breast cancer research, will lead the institute’s work to advance knowledge around the mechanisms of cancer development and to discover better ways to prevent, detect and treat cancer in its many forms. He will begin in the role on Aug. 31 and will also hold a faculty appointment with the UMN Twin Cities Medical School.

Dr. Clarke is currently a professor of oncology and co-director of the Breast Cancer Program at the renowned Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, D.C. He studies how hormones, growth factors, and other related molecules affect breast cancer, and how breast cancers become resistant to hormonal and cytotoxic chemotherapies. Dr. Clarke’s broad expertise includes estrogens, antiestrogens, aromatase inhibitors, cell signaling, bioinformatics, drug resistance, signal transduction and systems biology.

From 2007 to 2019, Dr. Clarke served as an associate vice president of Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) and director of its Biomedical Graduate Research Organization, home to 60 percent of biomedical research at GUMC. He also served as dean for research from 2011 to 2019. Dr. Clarke was as an elected member of the Georgetown University Faculty Senate (2002 to 2011), serving as secretary-treasurer from 2004 to 2007.

Dr. Clarke’s arrival will mark the sixth executive director to lead The Hormel Institute since it was started by Jay C. Hormel in 1942 and gifted to University of Minnesota. Dr. Ann Bode, who currently serves as interim executive director, will continue to provide support throughout the transition. Events planned for the fall will allow the community, partners, and stakeholders to meet the new executive director.

Dr. Leena A. Hilakivi-Clarke, a professor of oncology at Georgetown University, will also join The Hormel Institute as a section leader. Hilakivi-Clarkes research involves studying the role of diet in breast cancer and in women’s health.