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HudsonAlpha cuts ribbon on new research greenhouse

The new facility will focus on plant genomics and research.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — State and city leaders gathered for a ribbon cutting ceremony at HudsonAlpha to welcome the new greenhouse facility that will focus on plant research. The discoveries scientists make there could affect plants and agriculture around the world.

Jim Hudson, co-founder of the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, invoked the memory of his late co-founder, saying, "Today would be Lonnie McMillian's 94th birthday, and I know he would be proud of today's campus and this amazing greenhouse."

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey was on hand for the event, and said, "Today is another example of what's possible when we actively look for ways to utilize and strengthen a public private partnership. It will play a vital role in ensuring Alabama remains at the forefront of science and discovery."

What began as genomics research for human health has expanded into research on thousands of plant species.

Alex Harkess, HudsonAlpha Faculty Investigator, says the research from the new greenhouse will, "allow us to make more food on less land, allow us to use plants to produce new products, allow us to make plants that are more nutritious and healthy, allow us to think about how we can leverage the diversity of plant species on our planet to solve some of the major challenges that our species faces."

And plant biologists will be able to use this greenhouse to unlock secrets within the plant genomes. "It's not just glass, it's a multi-purpose facility that has a greenhouse. It's got molecular laboratory space, we have the ability to grow any number of plant species year round in this greenhouse, so for us it represents a huge milestone at HudsonAlpha in terms of the number of plant species that we can grow, work on and study here at the institute," explained Harkess.

The institute plans to work with other organizations within the state and across the globe to make farmland more sustainable for years to come.  

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