Get to know… Ada Stewart

Ada Stewart joined HudsonAlpha in 2008 and has been going strong with the HudsonAlpha Genome Sequencing Center ever since. We invite you to get to know Stewart, who is committed to making the world a better place through her work with the institute.
Q: Where are you from?
I was born in Hazelton, Penn. My father was in the U.S. Army and the missile system on which he worked was based in Huntsville, so we settled here in 1980 after he retired. 
Q: What is your educational background?
I went to Johnson High School in Huntsville and then to Auburn, where I received my Bachelor of Science in microbiology. 
Q: What sparked your interest in science?
Ever since I was a kid, I have been drawn to the problem-solving aspects of science and I enjoy figuring out the basics: how, what and why. Science is always evolving and there are so many pieces that affect everyday life. That intrigues me.
Q: What is your primary research focus and why is it important?
I am one of two sequencing group leaders (Lori Handley is the other) with the Genome Sequencing Center. The GSC's primary goal is the generation of high quality plant and fungal genomic resources for the scientific community. We specialize in eukaryotic whole genome sequence, assembly and analysis together with improvement or finishing of complex eukaryotic genomes. I am focused on the everyday lab work and making sure things run smoothly with all of the machines we use to prep and sequence the various projects on which we are working.  
The work we do at the HudsonAlpha Genomic Sequencing Center provides a greater understanding of the DOE flagship plant genomes, which helps improve our biofuel capabilities. It is just a blessing to be involved in something that touches so many people.
Q: What is the best part of working at HudsonAlpha?
What I love most is the culture. HudsonAlpha has a very open and friendly work environment that enables people to continue to grow. There is such a wealth of knowledge here and so many people working together and helping each other out. It is just a breath of fresh air.