Hudson Alpha


History

For many years, an Alabama-based, world-class biotechnology institute was the dream of the principals of the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. Thanks to $50 million in state support pledged by then Alabama Governor Bob Riley and $80 million in private donations, that dream became a reality.

Located in the nation's second largest research park, Cummings Research Park, the institute is the cornerstone of the 153-acre CRP Biotech Campus. A not-for-profit organization, HudsonAlpha has a three-fold mission of conducting genomics-based research to improve human health and well being; sparking economic development; and providing educational outreach to nurture the next generation of biotech researchers and entrepreneurs, as well as to create a biotech literate public.

Abut the Institute

The HudsonAlpha Institute of Biotechnology is a non-profit research institute dedicated to basic and applied research in genomics and genetics. The Institute, which opened in March 2008, is housed in a four-story, 270,000 square foot building that has the capacity to house up to 800 scientists and staff. Located in Cummings Research Park in Huntsville, Alabama, the facility houses well-equipped state-of the-art laboratories, numerous small- and medium-sized conference rooms, as well as a library, auditorium and cafeteria.

The Institute is comprised of nine very large laboratories with space for 14 to 18 Faculty Investigators, and is situated in the North Wing of the building and comprises almost half of the square footage. The remaining half, in the South Wing, houses the HudsonAlpha Genome Sequencing Center (formerly the Stanford Human Genome Center) and 15 biotechnology companies, all of which are involved in research, development or production related to genomics.

A laboratory classroom for high school and college students, as well as teachers, is used to support an extensive education outreach program that is outfitted for local and long-distance education programs that originate from the Institute. High-definition video conferencing is placed throughout the building to connect staff with colleagues in other locations.

Research and Teaching Missions

HudsonAlpha Institute's research and teaching missions are focused on genomics and genetics, and intends to have 14-16 Faculty Investigators who will work cooperatively on multiple problems in human biology and other life sciences concerns. The Hudson Alpha Institute has already recruited seven of these Investigators, including Richard Myers, Devin Absher, Shawn Levy, Greg Barsh, Jeremy Schmutz and Jane Grimwood (heads of the Genome Sequencing Center) and Jian Han (an expert in microbial genetics and genomics). Greg Cooper and Sara Cooper (both from the University of Washington) have recently joined the faculty. Additional recruitments are in progress, and will include senior- and junior-level Faculty Investigators with computational/statistical biology research programs, as well as additional genomics laboratory Investigators. Currently, the Myers and Absher groups have collaborations with scientists all over the U.S., in Singapore and in Europe. These include close collaborations with numerous groups at UAB, as well as with the University of Alabama in Huntsville, the University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa campus), and Auburn University.

Most HudsonAlpha Faculty Investigators have Adjunct Faculty positions at one or more of these campuses. This allows the faculty to train Ph.D. students in their laboratories and have access to facilities in the universities, while also greatly facilitating collaborations.

Educational Outreach Program

HudsonAlpha has an extensive educational outreach program led by Dr. Neil Lamb and a dedicated team of five additional scientists/educators. In addition, the HudsonAlpha faculty, students and postdoctoral fellows participate in the multiple programs of the education group. The institute provides extensive science education to a broad audience of all ages, all over the entire state of Alabama and even into surrounding states, while also providing scientists-in-training with valuable experience in teaching, development and networking. The goals are to help build an informed community, excite people of all ages about the knowledge revolution in the life sciences and encourage young people to consider careers in science.

Among the 15 different programs are a twice-yearly 5-week course for non-scientist adults, a teacher-in-residence program, a summer internship research program for 25-35 undergraduates, and the development and implementation of distance-learning modules that are being used by throughout the state by all 7th grade students and, soon, high school students.

A major part of the philosophy of HudsonAlpha Institute is that researchers not only receive training to become independent scientists, but also that they disseminate their knowledge and research mission to the public and help create a more scientifically knowledgeable community.

Institute Goals

  • Develop high-throughput research tools that focus on why disease occurs and to rapidly apply this knowledge to help patients
  • Establish a biotechnology campus that will be a synergistic cluster of researchers and entrepreneurs
  • Educate the students, teachers and citizens of Alabama to the benefits of biotechnology
  • Enhance Alabama's reputation, economic status and educational resources
  • Facilitate the sharing of intellectual and physical resources to the benefit of the entire state
  • Provide the challenging and rewarding job opportunities required for our best and brightest to remain in Alabama
  • Connect the state's strength in basic and clinical research with the institute's high throughput approach and entrepreneurial environment
  • Inform and inspire teachers, professors and students through summer biotech camps and distance learning programs
  • Spur, nurture and grow Alabama biotechnology firms by providing a supporting, entrepreneurial environment
  • We believe a self-governed institute, affiliated with major research institutions, will provide the energy, inspiration and creative atmosphere to accomplish these goals and objectives.