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HudsonAlpha teams with Dothan on Wiregrass biotech institute

The HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology announced a public-private partnership with the city of Dothan to create the HudsonAlpha Wiregrass Institute to advance education, agricultural research and economic development through entrepreneurship.

Dothan Mayor Mark Saliba said the partnership has the potential to chart a new course for the Wiregrass region’s economy and future.

“Our city, county and community are at the crossroads to embrace growth and opportunities that we have never seen,” he said. “We are at the place to make big and bold decisions that can transform our community.”

HudsonAlpha Wiregrass will focus on three areas:

  • Genomics education in region schools to include workforce certifications and internships in the ag-tech sector.
  • Genomics research on Alabama peanuts to create new drought- and disease-resistant varieties.
  • Recruitment of agriculture tech startup companies, and the creation of an ecosystem for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, welcomed the collaboration between Huntsville-based HudsonAlpha, a national powerhouse in genomics research, and Dothan, an important economic hub for Alabama’s agricultural and forest products industries.

“HudsonAlpha Wiregrass will be able to plug into the region’s key economic drivers and unlock growth potential by spurring innovation and new avenues of exploration,” Canfield said.

“This partnership will unleash brainpower that can accomplish amazing things.”

The work will take place in a new Wiregrass Center of Innovation in downtown Dothan. This facility will include wet labs, offices and other infrastructure required in a modern space of innovation.

“Working closely with the city of Dothan, Wiregrass leadership and other regional partners, such as the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, HudsonAlpha Wiregrass will serve as a catalyst to spark innovation, enhance STEM education, inspire economic growth and create jobs across the region,” said Neil Lamb, president of HudsonAlpha.

Greenhouse opening

The Dothan partnership represents another milestone for HudsonAlpha, which days ago formally opened a 14,000-square-foot glass greenhouse on its campus.

The highly sophisticated facility is equipped with two lab spaces, seven grow rooms with 15-foot ceilings and several technologically advanced features rarely found in greenhouses.

The facility will help researchers in the HudsonAlpha Center for Plant Science and Sustainable Agriculture advance their mission to use genomics to help sustainably feed and fuel the planet.

The project was announced in May 2021.

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

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