HudsonAlpha Holds Grand Opening for Paul Propst Center

The HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology held a ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday for the Paul Propst Center, the newest addition to the biotech campus.

The Propst Center, at 800 Genome Way, is made possible by the state of Alabama and community support, including Huntsville philanthropist and businessman William “Bill” Self Propst Sr. The center is named in honor and memory of his father Paul, who was a minister in North Alabama.

“Throughout my career, I have been focused on improving people’s health. My family and I continue to work towards these goals,” said Propst. “I see those working at HudsonAlpha with the same commitment to making life better. We are honored to be able to support HudsonAlpha as they continue to grow and make advancements.”

A number of labs, rooms, spaces and structures in the Propst Center are named in honor of local foundations and supporters who have made gifts to the HudsonAlpha Foundation’s Decade of Discovery: Building for the Future campaign. The campaign allows individuals to financially support the work of the institute with naming opportunities across the campus.

“HudsonAlpha has accomplished so much in the only ten years, all of which would not have been possible without the support our community,” said Jim Hudson, HudsonAlpha co-founder. “Cutting the ribbon today on the Paul Propst Center was a special moment not only for me, but all of us at HudsonAlpha and in Huntsville.”

Similar in look and feel to the flagship building at 601 Genome Way, the Propst Center will house components of HudsonAlpha’s education and research programs, and growing biotech companies. Extra details in design – glass walls, common sidewalks, a grand staircase – create a “team science” environment and contribute to the culture of collaboration.

“The vision of the institute’s founders is to see discoveries and advancements quickly occur with research and business working together,” said Carter Wells, HudsonAlpha vice president for economic development. “Today, we celebrate not just the continuation but a strengthening of the culture of collaboration and innovation created 10 years ago.”

The two-story, 105,000 square-foot building includes state-of-the-art laboratories built to National Institutes of Health standards for biosafety, with more than 47,000 square feet available for expanding biotech companies, and turnkey office and lab space for biotech companies interested in joining HudsonAlpha’s campus.

Several companies have already expanded into the Propst Center from HudsonAlpha’s flagship building, some doubling their previous footprint. The HudsonAlpha associate companies that will be the initial tenants of the Propst Center are Folio Conversant, Microarrays, Alimetrix and iRepertoire.

“We came to HudsonAlpha with just a few people and an idea,” said Marshall Schreeder Jr., co-founder and CEO of Conversant Bio, now Folio Conversant. “And now we’ve grown to ten times the number of employees and merged with another company.

“Being on the HudsonAlpha campus not only puts us at the center of innovation and collaboration, but we also have room to grow.”

In addition, the Propst Center has three education labs where the HudsonAlpha Educational Outreach team will provide hands-on laboratory experiences for students and inspire the next generation of scientists. HudsonAlpha’s education programs have reached more than 5 million learners in just 10 years and have a proven track record of workforce development success.

Many students who experienced HudsonAlpha’s hands-on classroom activities, or participated in summer camps or internship programs are now a part of the HudsonAlpha workforce, or working in life science research institutes or companies across the country.

“I remember when our first building was under construction and even then, I knew HudsonAlpha was going to be something special,” said Dr. Neil Lamb, vice president for Educational Outreach. “What started as one building has grown to a premier biotech campus. I can’t think of a better place to grow one’s passion for learning and train the scientists of the future.”

“This was an exciting day for both HudsonAlpha and the city of Huntsville,” said Dr. Rick Myers, president and science director at HudsonAlpha. “By growing our campus and opening the Paul Propst Center, we can continue to impact a community that has shown us a tremendous amount of support throughout the years.”

For information, visit hudsonalpha.org/800.