HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology Wiregrass is excited to partner with the City of Dothan and the Wiregrass to spark innovation, enhance STEM education and inspire economic growth in the region.
HudsonAlpha Wiregrass Research will apply the power of genomics to improve plants used for food, feed, fuel and fiber. Naturally occurring DNA changes produce plants with higher yields, increased resistance to pests and disease, and the ability to grow under different environmental conditions like temperature or rainfall levels. HudsonAlpha’s researchers will partner with local farmers, schools, breeders, regional scientists and the Wiregrass Research and Extension Center to identify and incorporate these changes into agriculturally important crops, creating varieties that thrive in the Wiregrass.
HudsonAlpha Wiregrass Education will bring engaging hands-on resources and programs to students, educators and the broader public — showcasing the application of genetics and biotechnology in agriculture, human health, and other career fields. Genomics education will connect Wiregrass Schools, Career & Technical Education programs, Wallace Community College, and the larger ag-tech industry through classroom kits, educator workshops, field trips,research-driven experiments, summer programs, internships and workforce development initiatives. Town halls, seminars and science nights will introduce genomic concepts and technologies to Wiregrass communities.
HudsonAlpha Wiregrass Economic Development will utilize a collaborative approach to identify areas of promise within agriculture-related fields and implement strategies to build an ecosystem leading to new partnerships with existing companies, startup ventures, and an overall excitement of doing business in the region. By evaluating innovation possibilities, engaging local and regional stakeholders, leveraging the current business resources, and establishing and supporting new ventures, HudsonAlpha Wiregrass will expand agriscience innovation, bringing new jobs and economic opportunities to the region. WIREGRASS is excited to partner with the City of Dothan and the Wiregrass to spark innovation, enhance STEM education and inspire economic growth in the region.
HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is the science of progress. We are using genomics to address some of the largest problems facing humanity and expanding to the Wiregrass area is advancing our mission of creating a healthier and more sustainable world.
Dean Mitchell, Director
Mitchell is the former executive director of the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce where he was responsible for the overall operations of the chamber and supported the chamber on projects related to economic, community and workforce development. Before joining the chamber, he served as chief of staff and communications director for two U.S. congressmen. Mitchell led in the fields of management, strategic planning, communications and problem-solving. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia. Mitchell is also a graduate of the Institute of Organizational Management, Dothan 101, Leadership Dothan and Leadership Alabama. He received his Alabama-accredited chamber executive certification and was named the 2022 chamber professional of the year for Alabama. He and his wife, Maggie, have three sons.
Abby Burch, Lab Manager
Burch is responsible for leading the community-led molecular breeding program, including genotyping and selection using low-coverage whole genome sequencing and back cross selection. A native of Rehobeth, Burch worked as a lab technician for Dothan Pediatric Healthcare Network after graduating from Troy University with a bachelor of science in Biology and Biomedical Sciences.
Ann Carr, Economic Development Associate
Ann Carr is responsible for coordinating the Economic Development mission’s work for HudsonAlpha Wiregrass, which includes entrepreneur- and recruitment-based economic development efforts to benefit the Wiregrass region, with the focus involving the agriculture and agtech sectors. Carr worked as the Executive Director for Southeast AlabamaWorks, Inc. for the last two years, where she worked with key workforce, economic and elected officials to meet workforce and economic needs for the ten-county region. Carr previously worked for Wallace Community College and the Alabama Department of Labor Career Center Systems. Carr is a graduate of the University of Alabama.
In her role, Madison works on research, social media, and administrative functions for the HudsonAlpha Wiregrass team. Ward previously worked as an intern for Southeast AlabamaWorks doing social media design and outreach. Ward will graduate in the summer of 2024 with a degree in Global Business Marketing from Troy University.