Discovering Breakthroughs

Discovering breakthroughs is not just a goal, but a reality within the labs of the Applied Research division. Each day, the staff focus on projects driven strictly by the needs of industry in order to help foster economic transformation. While our Analytical Chemistry group offers elite testing services, our Advanced Materials team provides cutting-edge characterization and processing capabilities. The groundbreaking agricultural enrichment efforts of our Life Sciences & Biotechnology group and the Precision Agriculture team add to our pride in enhancing human life and presenting commercialization prospects.

Meet Our

Director of Applied Research

Scott Lowman, PhD

[javascript protected email address]
Office: 434.766.6628
Contact
Meet The Team

Advanced Materials

IALR’s advanced materials research is committed to the development and application of cutting-edge materials and assisting the region’s organizations in re-energizing the economy.

Learn More

Analytical Chemistry

Analytical methodology development and chemical testing services help expedite decision-making processes, quantify the efficacy of products under development and offer access to state-of-the-art equipment.

Learn More

Plant Endophyte Research Center

IALR’s Plant Endophyte Research Center is the first of its kind in the U.S. It leverages private and public partnerships, an elite team of scientists and exclusive equipment and testing services. A library of 2,000 endophytes, or beneficial plant bacteria, show promise as natural biostimulants—reducing chemical fertilizer use and preserving the environment.

Learn More

Precision Agriculture

Precision agriculture improves the efficiency of farmers by using technology to pinpoint crop areas needing attention. IALR’s SMART tables, which are precision imaging platforms, record and track plant growth and responses to environmental stimuli. Drones provide crop images and expedite identification of problem areas.

Learn More

Success Stories

"“The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research has proven to be invaluable to the Town of Altavista by helping to bring about a possible closure to the problem of PCB contamination in our communities’ waste water treatment pond. They are truly an asset to our region.”"
Unique Workshop Promotes Collaboration Needed to Move Science Forward
Scientists from across the country attended a workshop facilitated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR).
Learn More
"“The word “opportunity” epitomizes the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research. IALR is a place where students, faculty, researchers, and entrepreneurs are actively working together to reach their full potential. IALR provides the ecosystem where discovery, innovation and commercialization is nurtured and celebrated. The leadership of IALR are invested in…"
VA Tech Students at IALR
Graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in the Mechanical Engineering program at Virginia Tech recently visited the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) as part of an ongoing collaboration with IALR. Senior Scientist Scott Lowman is also an adjunct professor at Virginia Tech.
Learn More
"I am beyond amazed with the staff and impressed with the technology the research facility has to offer."
Patrick Henry Community College Visits IALR
Students in John Ayers’ Introduction to Plant Science class toured the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research. The course is one of several agribusiness courses offered at Patrick Henry Community College.
Learn More
Experimental Water Treatment Project
Members of the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research's (IALR) Applied Research team met with Altavista's town council in October to go over a proposal that would remediate contaminants in the town's overflow pond. The proposal was approved on November 11 for the amount of $36,000...
Learn More
High-Tech Farming
Scientists are halfway through the first year of a two-year Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission (TRRC) grant helping regional growers make farming more profitable by reducing inputs (fertilizers, pesticides, and water) and increasing overall crop health and yields.
Learn More
Natural Products & Chemistry
The Institute works to develop analytical methods for analyzing small molecules as well as natural health and nutraceutical products. This is accomplished by using a variety of analytical techniques including UPLCMS and GCMS.
Learn More
Institute Receives Tobacco Commission Grant to Assist Growers
Scientists at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research will continue assisting growers in the counties of Franklin, Halifax, Henry, Mecklenberg, Patrick, and Pittsylvania by introducing precision agriculture technologies to current growers of strawberries, vegetables, grapes, grains, tobacco, and legumes.
Learn More
Impressive Research Results for Growers
The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) has concluded one year of research with impressive results for participating Asian pear growers. The research is funded by a two-year Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) grant to study tree pruning methodology and fruit bagging techniques in Virginia Asian pear orchards to improve Asian pear yield and quality, and to develop a standard Asian pear training, pruning, and bagging system for Virginia farmers.
Learn More
Polymers: Processing and Analytical Support
Our polymer research is committed to the development and application of cutting-edge materials and assisting the region’s organizations in re-energizing the economy. IALR has invested in two distinct laboratories focused on the characterization and processing of polymer materials.
Learn More

Expanding Virginia’s Vineyards

Through a cost-share program, IALR works with the Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission and the Virginia Vineyards Association to increase vineyard acreage and address the shortage of Virginia-grown grapes.

LEARN MORE

"“The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research has proven to be invaluable to the Town of Altavista by helping to bring about a possible closure to the problem of PCB contamination in our communities’ waste water treatment pond. They are truly an asset to our region.”"
Mike Mattox / Mayor of Altavista
"“The word “opportunity” epitomizes the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research. IALR is a place where students, faculty, researchers, and entrepreneurs are actively working together to reach their full potential. IALR provides the ecosystem where discovery, innovation and commercialization is nurtured and celebrated. The leadership of IALR are invested in…"
Dr. Guru Ghosh / Virginia Tech
"I am beyond amazed with the staff and impressed with the technology the research facility has to offer."
Emily Barbour / PHCC
"This is a worldwide problem. If this project is successful, it would not only benefit the town of Altavista but many other localities as well. It also represents IALR's commitment to the health and prosperity of the region."
Scott Lowman, Ph.D. / Scientist, The Institute
"To support our RemRX™ Environmental Solutions’ needs, we have been working with the IALR. IALR’s excellent facilities, equipment, and people are extremely easy to work with extending our value proposition to our current and future customers."
Charles Gause / AxNano & Triad Growth Partners
"The fruit that came out was beautiful and so we’re very interested in this. We do have a lot of customers asking for pesticide-free fruit. This may be a practice we can adopt and do well with."
Bennett Saunders / Saunders Brothers Farm
"IALR is excited to partner with the Tobacco Commission. This grant will allow IALR to solidify its commitment to improve agricultural production in our area."
Mark Gignac / IALR
"AxNano has been working with the Institute since April 2017 on a National Science Foundation-funded program to evaluate the efficacy of AxNano’s groundwater remediation technologies. Yimeng He performed advanced analytical chemistry work, analyzing samples and processing data that was critical to the success of our program. Yimeng was very professional,…"
Dr. Alexis Wells Carpenter / AxNano
"When Tyton needs additional assistance with analytical work across our many areas of tech development, we turn to Yimeng He at the Institute. Our team at Tyton has been impressed with the quality of the work and reports and we will continue to rely on his capabilities as we expand…"
Conor Hartman / Tyton BioSciences
"With the information gained from the technology offered by the Institute, it will improve our yields, improve our profit, and make it worthwhile we are staying on the farm."
Jesse Williams / Homeplace Vineyard

What is your next breakthrough?