By Alabama NewsCenter

The HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology officially opened the Paul Propst Center in Huntsville today.

The newest addition to the biotech campus is a 105,000-square-foot, two-story building that aims to promote research, education and economic development.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon, state Sen. Arthur Orr and U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks were among those attending the grand opening.

“The research, education and economic development efforts happening at HudsonAlpha are revolutionizing the way that Alabamians live and the way the world lives, which is why I am so proud to join them in expanding those efforts through the addition of the Paul Propst Center,” Ivey said. “Thanks to HudsonAlpha, Alabama will be the state to make good on the promise of having 21st-century healthcare and agriculture.”

The Propst Center is made possible by state 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.”

Elected officials joined HundsonAlpha leaders for the grand opening of the Paul Propst Center. (contributed)

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 people to financially support the work of the institute with naming opportunities across the campus.

“HudsonAlpha has accomplished so much in the only 10 years, all of which would not have been possible without the support of 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.

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

The new building at 800 Hudson Way includes state-of-the-art laboratories built to National Institutes of Health (NIH) 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 expanded into the Propst Center from their previous spaces in 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 ConversantMicroarraysAlimetrix 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 10 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 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.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey speaks at the grand opening of the Paul Propst Center in Huntsville. (contributed)

“I remember when our first building was under construction and, even then, I knew HudsonAlpha was going to be something special,” said 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 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.”

To learn more about the Paul Propst Center and available naming opportunities, visit

This story originally appeared on Alabama NewsCenter.