Significant Gifting Supports HudsonAlpha’s Mission in Clinical Genomic Medicine and Enables Scientific Thinking

Business Council of Alabama member HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology has received $200,000 in grants and gifts to further the Huntsville-based genomic science company’s mission serving academic, clinical, and commercial needs.

HudsonAlpha said Wednesday that it has received a $100,000 grant from the Jane K. Lowe Charitable Foundation of Huntsville to help establish a clinical genomics program for patients in Alabama and elsewhere.

In addition, donors Marc and Sheryl Bendickson and former U.S. Rep. Robert “Bud” Cramer provided  donations of $50,000 to HudsonAlpha’s “Impactful Ideas” initiative that sponsors “Idea Chairs” and “Idea Tables,” which represent the groundbreaking work at the HudsonAlpha campus.

HudsonAlpha President and Scientific Director Richard M. Myers, PhD, said that HudsonAlpha “is deeply grateful to the Jane K. Lowe Foundation for the gift” that helps HudsonAlpha’s mission to utilize the power of genomics to help improve lives.

“I can’t think of a better way to do that than to use what we know about the genomic sequence to identify the causes of unknown diseases and help identify new therapies for some of the sickest patients,” Dr. Myers said.

Jane K. Lowe Foundation board member John Wynn said the foundation is excited that the grant will assist HudsonAlpha to bring genomic medicine to the region and to become a leader in this rapidly developing technology.

“During her lifetime, Mrs. Lowe was a generous supporter of medical research,” Wynn said. “This grant enables our foundation to carry on Mrs. Lowe’s legacy by supporting this innovative approach to patient care.”

The Lowe grant will support five new HudsonAlpha Institute faculty members who will work with existing faculty to bring scalable, cost-effective, genomic medicine. 

HudsonAlpha in Huntsville recently recruited five world-renowned faculty investigators specializing in genomic medicine. “Working with our existing faculty, they are literally changing medicine,” said Lynne Berry, HudsonAlpha’s vice president for advancement.

HudsonAlpha also established a fully accredited and certified Clinical Sequencing Laboratory, which can provide clinically-validated and interpreted genomic information for physicians worldwide, HudsonAlpha said.

HudsonAlpha seeks donations of between $50,000 and $200,000 for an initiative which allows philanthropists to name tables and chairs inside the institute’s atrium.

“There are so many amazing ideas and so many surprising developments that occur every day as people from the Institute, people from our associate companies and guests share a meal or coffee around these tables,” Berry said. “This space is one of the reasons HudsonAlpha works so well.”

Bendickson, the former CEO of Dynetics, and Mrs. Bendickson said they hope their “Idea Chair” will be the start of a wave of future high-end donations.

From left, Marc Bendickson, Sheryl Bendickson, and Robert “Bud” Cramer. (HudsonAlpha photo)

“The research done so far at HudsonAlpha has changed the face of science,” Bendickson said. “Now with the clinic and the genetic testing, we will see how HudsonAlpha is directly impacting patients.”

“HudsonAlpha was challenged to offer genetic breast cancer screening to the entire community – and accepted the challenge,” Mrs. Bendickson said. “When a challenge is there, they’re going to meet it.”

Cramer encouraged donations: “HudsonAlpha will change the health of our community and of the rest of the world. I embrace any opportunity to help them,” he said.

“By creating a unique physical space and breaking down barriers between scientists and entrepreneurs, we are moving science to real-world applications more quickly,” HudsonAlpha’s Dr. Myers said.

HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is a genomic science and applications nonprofit organization that serves thousands of academic, clinical, and commercial clients’ needs. The Institute is a global scientific collaborator valued for its genomic data analysis and interpretation to solve some of the most pressing questions in cancer, undiagnosed childhood genetic disorders, neuropsychiatric disorders, immune-mediated disease, agriculture and public health.

The late Jane K. Lowe and her husband, Robert, were cattle farmers in Madison and Limestone counties. She was a generous benefactor and civic leader in Huntsville community and provided numerous gifts to educational institutions including establishing a Professorship of Medicine in Rheumatology, at the University of Alabama in Birmingham School of Medicine and the Robert J. and Jane K. Lowe Endowed Scholarship at the University of Alabama School of Law.

-Dana Beyerle