Biotech industry a standout during innovation awards ceremonies

Valley Innovation Alliance winnersThe HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and resident associate companies Diatherix Laboratories and CFD Research were three of eight organizations honored recently by the Valley Innovation Alliance.  “It is clear that the biotech industry has firmly established roots in the Tennessee Valley region,” noted Howell Lee, president of VIA. “The biotech industry is certain to become as important to the valley as Redstone Arsenal and NASA.”  Lee added that biotech is another way Alabama’s reach extends around the world.

VIA works to strengthen workforce preparedness in the Tennessee Valley’s targeted industries and high-growth fields – biotechnology, nanotechnology, engineering, information technology and advanced manufacturing.

The eight awards included:

The HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, its founders Jim Hudson and Lonnie McMillian, and the board of directors for establishing a unique non-profit research organization that encourages collaboration between institute scientists and those seeking to commercialize discoveries that further personalized medicine.

Diatherix Laboratories and the developer of Tem-PCR technology, Dr. Jian Han (a faculty investigator at the HudsonAlpha Institute), for the development of the first clinically available test that can diagnose the current strain of H1N1 virus, also known as the swine flu, in six hours or less.

CFD Research and founder Dr. Ashok Singhal for their innovations enabled by highly advanced computational fluid dynamics software and for a kidney dialysis catheter that halves the time needed for a patient to undergo dialysis.

The Fort Payne City Board of Education for its implementation of the Prometheus Activclassroom in all 157 of its elementary and secondary school classrooms, through its partnerships with the HudsonAlpha Institute and Rotary Clubs of North Alabama.

Halo Monitoring and founder Chris Otto for their engineering and bringing to market a device for wirelessly monitoring the independently living elderly person, thereby bringing a new world of safety and longevity outside of formal assisted living facilities.

Calhoun Community College for designing and instituting a two-year degree program for biotechnologists, thereby accelerating the availability of fully trained technologists for the region’s biotech industries.

Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Alabama for its zero-landfill Huntsville factory, where all waste is either reused or recycled and for the great "green" example that Toyota sets for all region industries.

The Northwest Alabama Council of Governments for its Girls Can Do It program targeted at girls in grades 11 and 12.  The program features female role models who speak on nontraditional careers for women in the science, technology, engineering and math disciplines.