HudsonAlpha Spring Benefit honors a Decade of Discovery

HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology hosted the annual Spring Benefit Thursday, April 26, 2018, where more than 600 HudsonAlpha supporters gathered at the Jackson Center to celebrate the institute’s ten-year anniversary and a Decade of Discovery.

Attendees heard institute leaders, supporters and state leaders discuss HudsonAlpha’s impact on their lives and the community. Special guest speakers included Gov. Bob Riley, who attended the first groundbreaking ceremony for the 601 building.

“What you are doing in North Alabama is different from anything else and people want to come to Huntsville, Alabama,” said Riley.

Co-founder Jim Hudson thanked supporters and, particularly, co-founder Lonnie McMillian and his family. “Lonnie and I wanted to make biotechnology a permanent fixture in economic development in the state,” said Jim Hudson, co-founder of HudsonAlpha. “It’s been ten years and everything that we dreamed of has come true.”

Specials guests Cyndi Jones, Dr. Aruna Arora and Alex Wade shared stories of the many different ways HudsonAlpha has impacted their lives.

Cyndi Jones of Huntsville is a parent to sons with a very rare form of high cholesterol. She turned to the Smith Family Clinic to get a confirmed diagnosis.

“I needed the diagnosis confirmed, and that felt like a relief to just get that answer,” said Jones. The diagnosis also helped pinpoint a medication that restored the boys’ health.

Dr. Aruna Arora, co-medical director of Crestwood ALS Care Clinic in Huntsville, discussed her excitement over the new collaboration with HudsonAlpha to look for genetic causes of ALS.

“The Impacting ALS project is extremely exciting because we can offer something innovative and on the forefront for our patients here locally,” said Dr. Arora, “and at such a great institution like HudsonAlpha, that’s already made its mark.” Click here to learn more about the Impacting ALS project.

Alex Wade shared with the group how a simple strawberry DNA extraction at a HudsonAlpha middle school camp sparked a lifelong interest – and a career – in molecular biology.

NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD, was at the ribbon-cutting ceremony in 2008. Dr. Collins was unable to attend the Spring Benefit but he recorded a special video congratulating HudsonAlpha on ten years.

“I can’t help but reflect back on being with you all ten years ago when HudsonAlpha held its grand opening,” said Collins. “I could tell that this was going to be a special place and I was particularly happy to be there. Best wishes and congratulations to everyone there on an amazing ten years.”

Funds raised at the Spring Benefit will support HudsonAlpha’s Decade of Discovery: Building for the Future campaign. If you would like more information about this campaign, contact the HudsonAlpha Foundation at [email protected] or visit

Click here to view and download photos from the event. Click here to view HudsonAlpha’s Decade of Discovery video.