Minnesota Bioimaging Center

The Minnesota Bioimaging Center (MBiC) will establish a state-of-the-art research, workforce training, and educational center to advance scientific progress throughout Minnesota and the Midwest and develop the next generation of research leaders.

What is MBiC?

There’s no place like MBiC. The Minnesota Bioimaging Center (MBiC) is a phased project that will build innovation space for cutting-edge bioimaging research capabilities needed to accelerate scientific discoveries in Minnesota and the Midwest region, educate and support the next generation of researchers, and create a positive economic impact for our communities.

The future of research is now. MBiC will leverage and expand The Hormel Institute’s unique technological capabilities for high-resolution single-particle cryo-electron microscopy (Cryo-EM) analysis and add cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET) capabilities. 

The center will also include a STEM learning lab that will offer unparalleled educational and training opportunities for all ages (K-12 and beyond) to support the development of the next generation of innovators and cryo-EM professionals, who are in high national demand.                                                                                                                   

The final result: Upon its completion, MBiC will be a state-of-the-art biomedical and agricultural research center and STEM educational facility unlike anywhere else in the country — right here in rural Austin, Minnesota.

MBiC update

Project Highlights

  • Construction of new bioimaging wing at The Hormel Institute
  • Acquisition of a high-end cryogenic-sample electron microscope (cryoEM) and a focused ion beam scanning electron microscope (FIB/SEM) to expand our capabilities and include tomography
  • Virtually 24/7 access for visiting researchers using facilities
  • Training opportunities to develop cryo-EM workforce
  • Creation of new research collaborations and jobs
  • Continued recruitment of leading scientific experts
  • STEM Learning Lab for students of all ages to support the next generation of innovators
  • Expansion reserves additional space for future bioimaging technology advancements
  • Economic boost for Austin and Mower County communities

Where We Are

With strong leadership, cutting-edge technology, optimized facilities, and dynamic educational initiatives, MBiC is poised to continue making significant contributions to the fields of bioimaging and STEM education. 

Phase 1 Milestones


The state bonding bill proposal for a requested $20 million will help cover the budgeted costs for MBiC’s Phase I building expansion, a two-story addition to the existing facilities that will bring in a new era of accelerated scientific progress.



MBiC will provide students throughout Minnesota with expanded educational opportunities unique in the United States. The new building will include education spaces specifically designed to offer a unique STEM experience for students.


help us achieve our goals

The Hormel Institute of today has established itself as a cutting-edge biomedical research facility with dozens of labs, state-of-the-art technology, and room for further expansion. We’re proud of our roots, and reflecting on our growth over the years allows us to look forward to the future with excitement for what more can be accomplished.