HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology hosted a ribbon cutting for its new Greenhouse and Educational Learning Labs on Wednesday, July 27
HUNTSVILLE (July 27, 2022) – HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology opened its new 14,000-square-foot glass greenhouse earlier today at a ribbon cutting ceremony hosted by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey and leaders in government and business across the region.
HudsonAlpha’s Greenhouse and Educational Learning Labs is the newest addition to the non-profit Institute’s biotech campus and is the only one of its kind in the U.S. The new facility includes top-of-the-line molecular laboratories and cutting edge technological features to help researchers in the HudsonAlpha Center for Plant Science and Sustainable Agriculture (Plant Center) advance their mission of using genomics to help sustainably feed and fuel our planet and serve as a living teaching lab for Institute faculty and students.
At the ribbon cutting, Gov. Ivey emphasized the importance of the Institute’s work and continued growth, “for years, HudsonAlpha has been working with Alabama farmers to improve their crops and to make their land sustainable for future generations. The people working in this one-of-a-kind facility will use the power of genomics to strengthen Alabama agriculture, build an ag-focused workforce, and create new economic opportunities for our state.”
With this opening, HudsonAlpha’s Center for Plant Science and Sustainable Agriculture will add significant lab and greenhouse space to propagate and grow research plants to improve existing crops, develop new uses for plants, lead more large-scale collaborations and develop low cost tools and genomic sequencing to link plant genes.
The facility, located at 1000 Hudson Way on the HudsonAlpha campus, is equipped with two lab spaces, seven grow rooms with 15-foot ceilings and technological advancements that make it a transformative research and teaching facility. Research in the facility will focus on advancing sustainability in a variety of crops, maximizing fuel production from plant biomass, reducing fertilizer use and reducing or eliminating fungicides to increase crop yields. The next phase of the facility will be to install a demonstration garden to showcase advancements in crop improvement.
“In its most basic sense, simply opening this facility is tremendously exciting for us because of what this building represents,” said Neil Lamb, PhD, HudsonAlpha President. “Within these walls, scientific discoveries will unlock solutions to feed, fuel and clothe our world.”
In addition to the work in plant genomics and the education programs, this expansion of the HudsonAlpha campus enables more engagement with AgBio companies.
Michael Lynch, co-founder and CEO, of CHONEX, an innovative agribusiness focusing on nutrient rich fertilizer and soil health, and also a HudsonAlpha resident associate company, said, “This greenhouse facility allows new collaborative opportunities for HudsonAlpha’s amazing plant scientists and companies like CHONEX. We are excited to continue our research and development efforts on the HudsonAlpha campus.”
Brasfield and Gorrie served as the general contractor for the project. Fuqua & Partners Architects designed the building.
“As they conduct research, incubate life science entrepreneurs and encourage education, HudsonAlpha is making a difference here in Huntsville, in the State of Alabama, and beyond. It’s an honor to play a part in building strong communities through constructing these specialized facilities,” said Sara Beth Wilcox, Brasfield & Gorrie Operations manager.
HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the human condition around the globe through discovery, education, and economic development in the genomic sciences. HudsonAlpha’s mission is to develop and apply scientific advances to health, agriculture, education and commercialization. The campus, located in Huntsville, includes nearly 50 biotech companies and consists of 152 acres located within Cummings Research Park, the second-largest research park in the nation. To learn more about HudsonAlpha, visit hudsonalpha.org.
About Brasfield & Gorrie
Founded in 1964, Brasfield & Gorrie is one of the nation’s largest privately held construction firms, providing general contracting, design-build, and construction management services for a wide variety of markets. We are skilled in construction best practices, including virtual design and construction, integrated project delivery, and Lean construction, but we are best known for our pre construction and self-perform expertise and exceptional client service. Brasfield & Gorrie has 13 offices and more than 3,500 employees. Our 2021 revenues were $4.2 billion. Engineering News-Record ranks Brasfield & Gorrie 24th among the nation’s “Top 400 Contractors” for 2022.
Greenhouse and Educational Learning Labs Quick Facts:
– 14,000 square feet of research and crop breeding space in state-of-the-art greenhouse and laboratory facilities
– Home to key agriculture education/workforce development initiatives led by HudsonAlpha’s Educational Outreach team
– 15 acre site package
– 4 acres of crop breeding fields
– 528 cubic yards of concrete
– 31 tons of steel
– The areas below will now have the infrastructure necessary to make significant strides for agriculture in Alabama and beyond.
— Understanding the function of plant genes: HudsonAlpha is developing tools to understand the unknown roles of the genes important for sustainable agricultural practices.
— Using genomic sequencing to link plant genes and plant features: HudsonAlpha is implementing and improving low cost tools that can be applied across a broad range of crop plants with the goal to identify which genes could be targets for crop improvement.
— Analyzing and comparing plant genomic data: HudsonAlpha scientists use high performance supercomputers to analyze and compare genomic sequences with data about the actual function of plant genes and traits. This analysis will result in better understanding of how plants interact with their environments.
— Plant improvement: By combining the knowledge generated from other research focus areas, HudsonAlpha scientists can identify key genes related to important crop traits and use accelerated breeding techniques to advance more high yielding crops.
— Crop improvement: Because many crops that are grown in Alabama were not originally bred for the Alabama climate and soil, they do not flourish as well as they do elsewhere in the country. HudsonAlpha, in partnership with Alabama universities, farmers and agribusinesses are using the power of genomics and plant breeding to introduce new, improved agricultural crops for Alabama plant features.
To learn more about the unique features of the greenhouse, click here.
Adam Kelley, Director of Communications