Huntsville, Ala. — Educational Outreach at HudsonAlpha expanded its reach to more than 400,000 individuals this year and can continue to expand thanks to Dr. and Mrs. Tony Chan and their generous donation.
Since 2009, the University of Alabama in Huntsville Professor Emeritus of Physics and his wife Kathy have been generous donors and continue to contribute with a recent gift $50,000 for the training lab, now called the “Chan Training Lab” in honor of its benefactors.
Vice President for Educational Outreach, Neil Lamb, Ph.D., said the success of research and associate companies is dependent on having the right workers. “The Chan Training Lab is what allows us to create that future workforce,” Lamb said.
Unlike the teaching lab that brings students in for daylong field trips, the training lab has programs that last multiple weeks, including Sample to Sequence. This upper-level undergraduate course is offered to students at UAH, Alabama A&M University and Athens State University. Students work as part of a research team under the direct supervision of seasoned instructors to define the metagenomic profile of environmental samples.
Dr. Chan agrees that the focus of science is constantly changing. “One hundred years ago it was chemistry, 50 years ago it was physics, and now it’s biology,” Chan said. “Through educational outreach, students are able to keep up with every change because they get hands-on experiences and activities they normally would not receive until late in their college experience or even graduate school.“
In appreciation of their gift, the Chans were presented with a photograph of various students and educators holding lab equipment and plates of bacteria arranged to spell out “Thank you.” In presenting the photo, Lamb said, “The next generation will be able to fulfill our biotechnology mission in part because of your gift.”
HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is a nonprofit institute dedicated to innovating in the field of genomic technology and sciences across a spectrum of biological problems. Its mission is three-fold: sparking scientific discoveries that can impact human health and well-being; fostering biotech entrepreneurship; and encouraging the creation of a genomics-literate workforce and society. The HudsonAlpha biotechnology campus consists of 152 acres nestled within Cummings Research Park, the nation’s second largest research park. Designed to be a hothouse of biotech economic development, HudsonAlpha’s state-of-the-art facilities co-locate scientific researchers with entrepreneurs and educators. The relationships formed on the HudsonAlpha campus allow serendipity to yield results in medicine and agriculture. Since opening in 2008, HudsonAlpha, under the leadership of Dr. Richard M. Myers, a key collaborator on the Human Genome Project, has built a name for itself in genetics and genomics research and biotech education, and boasts 27 biotech companies on campus.