Merging Biology and Technology for Sustainable Agricultural Production

The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) proudly champions sustainable solutions for enhanced agricultural production around the globe. The Plant Endophyte Research Center leverages private and public partnerships and funding, an elite team of scientists dedicated to the field of biostimulant research, and exclusive equipment and testing services to further their work. With a library of 2,000 endophyte strains already identified, IALR is well on its way to demonstrating the potential rewards of these natural microorganisms, or beneficial bacteria. Such benefits could include the reduction of chemical fertilizer use, the improvement of soil quality, the preservation of the environment and sustainable agricultural solutions—all while helping increase crop yields and plant health. IALR is already working with well-known industry players on licensing agreements and continues to actively seek other collaborators and research partners.

Recent Research 

Meet Our

Director of Plant Endophyte Research

Scott Lowman, Ph.D.

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Office: 434.766.6628
Meet The Team


Click “play” to the right to see our latest webinar featuring Dr. Dongfang “Emily” Zhou to learn how plant endophytes aid hydroponic lettuce growth promotion. Discover the applied research on hydroponic lettuce utilizing beneficial bacterial endophytes at the Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) Innovation Center, which is a partnership between the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences (SPES) at Virginia Tech and the Applied Research division at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR). To learn of new upcoming IALR news and events, follow us on social media or join our newsletter list.


Who We Are

As a state-supported entity bridging the realms of academia and industry, IALR leverages resources and knowledge for optimal solutions and breakthroughs. The Plant Endophyte Research Center, a rare phenomenon in the United States, uses IALR’s library of more than 2,000 characterized endophytes to uncover sustainable solutions in agriculture. The Center seeks to develop new business opportunities and university collaborations as well as to stay at the forefront of new trends in agricultural technologies.

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Areas of Focus

From plant endophytes to advanced phenotyping, precision agriculture and analytical chemistry, our dedication to uncovering sustainable agricultural solutions is vast. Matched by a team of elite experts, facilities and equipment, IALR’s Plant Endophyte Research Center aims to serve as the go-to resource for academia, industry and other partners interested in furthering the application of biostimulant research.

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Contact Us

IALR’s Plant Endophyte Research Center team thrives in a collaborative setting and actively seeks like-minded and forward-thinking partners. Universities with a relevant idea or project, or industry desiring related contract research opportunities are invited to inquire. IALR may be the ideal partner and would like to hear from you.

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"Applied at the correct time, biostimulants can significantly improve plant health, which ultimately leads to higher harvestable yields and better quality for a more profitable crop."
Simon Hendry / Agrinos
"Partnering with leading research institutions such as IALR is key to delivering on our commitments to farmer profitability and environmental sustainability."
Virginia Ursin / Indigo