Research in the area of plant-focused agriculture is the predominant component of the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research’s (IALR) overall mission. IALR’s scientists work closely with various partners, including Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and College of Natural Resources and Environment in conducting joint research, providing advanced learning opportunities for those at the high school, undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral level as well as serving as Adjunct Faculty. The team also works closely with Averett University providing research and mentoring opportunities for their undergraduate biology students.
IALR uses biotechnology to advance agriculture and horticulture by pioneering a marketable product and/or process. The novel plants and plant products being developed offer the opportunity to diversify the traditional tobacco-based economy by providing new marketable products that could be grown and/or produced regionally, generating new economic resources for the region. IALR is reinforced by scientists who are leaders in their respective fields, and equipment and instrumentation that enables them to expand the boundaries of knowledge and conduct valuable testing and analysis for partners and clients.
Its two main areas of focus include bioenergy feedstocks and high-value horticulture research.
IALR’s greenhouse is the proving ground for the research in plant biology for agriculture and horticulture. Opened in spring 2010, the automated state-of-the-art facility enables scientists to control temperature, moisture and sunlight from their office computers.