Hormel Institute doctor receives nearly $2 million grant for research into treatment options

The Hormel Institute’s Dr. Rendong Yang, Assistant Professor and head of the Computational Cancer Genomics lab, received a $1,987,500 Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) grant from The National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

Dr. Yang’s research program is to develop novel computational algorithms and analytical approaches to analyze large-scale biological and clinical data broadly applicable across diseases and biological systems. The goal of this research is to develop innovative computer tools to identify previously unexplored changes in human RNA that can change the gene sequences and produce disease-causing proteins.

“Comprehensive analysis of these events will provide new research avenues of drug design and treatment options for genetic disorders, such as muscular dystrophies, haemophilia, and cancer,” said Dr. Yang.

Dr. Yang’s lab is unique at The Hormel Institute because his research leverages advanced computational intelligence to find answers to major diseases, including cancer. He develops algorithms, creates machine learning approaches, and uses large scale data analysis to understand the intersection of genetics, genomics, and human disease and drive precision medicine.

“Dr. Yang’s research is critical to further enabling the integration of massive datasets from multiple ‘omics and other platforms for deep learning approaches to better understand and eventually cure major diseases,” said Dr. Robert Clarke, Executive Director of The Hormel Institute.

Dr. Yang’s MIRA grant funding began August 1, 2021 and spans 5 years, ending on May 31, 2026.