HudsonAlpha awarded grant to improve diagnoses of childhood genetic disorders

NIH study seeks genetic links to answer the “Why?” of unexplained disorders

HUNTSVILLE, Ala -- Even in the absence of a ready solution, knowing why a child faces physical, emotional and intellectual challenges is helpful to physicians and families. Researchers at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology are using high throughput genomic sequencing to meet major diagnostic needs for childhood genetic disorders through a multi-year grant potentially totaling more than $7.6 million from the National Institutes of Health.

Cacao genome sequence could have sweet results for growers

HudsonAlpha researchers support chocolate initiative

Photo of cacao outside of a home in an Indonesian villageHUNTSVILLE, Ala -- One of the world’s favorite confections – chocolate – may be improving at its basic ingredient thanks in part to research from the HudsonAlpha Genome Sequencing Center. HudsonAlpha, in partnership with MARS, Inc., the USDA, IBM and Clemson, Indiana and Washington State universities, is learning more about the cacao genome and sharing that knowledge to improve the way breeders and farmers harvest the crop.

Brain study identifies genetic link between major depressive disorder and the internal clock in humans

Cellular-level connections provide potential targets for improved diagnosis and treatment

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Sleeping, eating, working; humans, as well as many other living organisms, have circadian patterns, regularly occurring, 24-hour rhythms, that are part of normal function.  Dysfunctions in regular patterns – such as insomnia and unexplained fluctuations in appetite, body temperature and/or hormones — are symptoms shared by many patients with depression.   Researchers at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, with scientists at the University of Michigan, the University of California at Irvine, Stanford University and Weill Cornell Medical College, collaborated in a study where they found the first direct evidence connecting cellular level activity in the brains of patients with depression to out-of-step circadian rhythms.  These groups have been part of the Pritzker Neuropsychiatric Disorders Research Consortium for the past decade.

HudsonAlpha Foundation receives $2.5 million gift

Special fund honors institute founder Lonnie McMillian

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- A group of “stealthy” individuals led by Danny Windham, chief executive officer of Digium, revealed its mutual hand last night when the Lonnie McMillian Inspiring Excellence Fund was announced at the annual HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology fund raising event.  “The idea of a non-profit institute for biotechnology here in Huntsville was Lonnie’s vision,” said Windham, “and proceeds from the fund will help recruit and retain the very best researchers to HudsonAlpha.”  Initial gifts to the fund total $2.5 million.


HudsonAlpha Institute and Carolina Biological partner to help students learn by doing

Carolina Biological to distribute institute-developed science activities

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. and BURLINGTON, N.C. -- “Educational outreach at HudsonAlpha aims to deliver creative, hands-on educational experiences that raise student comprehension and build teacher confidence,” said Neil Lamb, Ph.D., director of educational outreach at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. The value of educational kits designed by Lamb and his staff at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology has been acknowledged by an executed agreement with Carolina Biological Supply Company.  According to Lamb, Carolina will promote and broadly distribute institute-branded, hands-on experiments and resources.

Meet the inspiration spurring new research at the institute

News Outlet: 
The Huntsville Times
Date published: 
April 4, 2013


HUNTSVILLE, ALA. -- The genetic research that goes on at HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology can seem complicated, the stuff of lofty science journals. A photography exhibit the institute recently commissioned, however, shows that work in a different light. It's Aidan, who recently lost his first tooth, and Brandon, who has a great sprinkle of freckles across his face. It's Sarah with her wide smile and brown eyes.

International team works toward sustainable peach

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Advancing work toward sustainable crops and sustainable fuels is among potential outcomes from a project undertaken by the International Peach Genome Initiative. The initiative, including researchers at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and the Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute, has completed the draft genome of peach, Prunus persica, and published findings in the March 24 edition of Nature Genetics.

EGEN announces phase I clinical trial for advanced ovarian cancer

News Outlet: 
PR Newswire
Date published: 
March 19, 2013

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- EGEN, Inc. today announced that it has recently initiated a Phase I clinical trial of its novel immunotherapy agent, EGEN-001, in combination with PEGylated liposomal Doxorubicin or Lipodox for the treatment of recurrent ovarian cancer. The EGEN-sponsored trial is conducted by a network of researchers led by Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) at member institutions under an agreement between the GOG and EGEN, Inc. Premal Thaker, M.D., M.S., of Washington University School of Medicine, is the Study Chair for the trial.

GREAT workshop embraced by area educators

GREAT LogoNearly 130 educators from northern and central areas of Alabamaattended the February Genetic Resources Empowering Alabama Teachers workshop offered by HudsonAlpha. “Those who participated in the workshop received classroom kits with hands-on exercises in chromosomal arrangements, protein folding and the relationships between DNA, RNA and functional proteins,” said Madelene Loftin, HudsonAlpha biotechnology education specialist.


Research shows neurons and support cells negatively impact each other in ALS

A study of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis recently published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA shows a complex genetic interplay between motor neurons and astrocytes. Led by scientists at Columbia University and supported by labs at the HudsonAlpha Institute, the study provided novel insights into the pathways leading to motor neuron-specific degeneration.
According to HudsonAlpha President and Director Rick Myers, Ph.D., “This research illustrated the linkage between motor neurons and neighboring nonneuronal cells, called glia, in ALS progression.”  Astrocytes are one of three types of glial cells.
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