Governor Perry Awards TTU $2 Million for Cotton Research - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/22/06

Governor Perry Awards TTU $2 Million for Cotton Research

Governor Rick Perry wants the United States to know cotton is king in Lubbock and he's investing $2 million in Texas Tech to help put us on the map. The money comes from the technology fund grant, created by the state legislature in 2005. Texas Tech is the first to receive funding from that grant. Governor Rick Perry came to Lubbock just to make that announcement.

It's good news for Lubbock, as well as Texas Tech, thanks to that grant a nationally renowned genealogist will call the Hub City home; Texas tech recruited Dr. Thea Wilkins to head up the International Center of Excellence in Agriculture Genomics. NewsChannel 11's Kealey McInitire tells us how her research will benefit Lubbock.

Dr. Wilkins is one of the nation's leading researchers when it comes to cotton, she's generated over 70 journal publications and she's helped secure over $6 million in research grants. Perry said now that she's here, Lubbock can't be ignored as the prime location of the cotton industry.

2/22/06
Cotton Farmers Produce Record Crop
Look no further than the now-empty fields for the power of cotton in Lubbock.

Dr. Thea Wilkins is the newest member of Texas Tech's research team. Governor Rick Perry awarded Tech nearly $2 million from the emerging technology fund so they could recruit a world class researcher, enter doctor Wilkins.

She's now heading up Tech's genealogy department, where they'll study how genes are arranged and how they can impact plant growth and development. The fund is designed to help pay for and expedite the research process, turning research into a tangible consumer product much quicker.

"There's nothing like this in the west, nothing like this in cotton and I think what we're going to be able to achieve is going to be tremendous," said Dr. Wilkins.

Wilkins's team will make various elements of cotton a consumer product, including flame-retardant fabrics. Their research publications and the final product will have Texas Tech's name on it putting the spotlight on Lubbock.

Governor Perry says that will help keep Lubbock and the state on a more competitive scale within the technology industry. "We will see jobs created, and in some forms or fashions, we will see people's quality of life improve because of what they're doing," commented Gov. Perry.

Under Dr. Wilkins, the department will develop relationships with researchers and companies nationwide, which will bring partnerships and national recognition to Tech and Lubbock businesses. "There's no reason why, the U.S. Center for Cotton Research is going to be right here in Lubbock."

The Lubbock branch of Bayer Crop Sciences also contributed $250,000 to recruit Dr. Wilkins. Bayer is the second largest cotton seed supplier in the country. Dr. Wilkins will work with them on developing, researching and commercializing new technologies.

Also because Dr. Wilkins is such a highly renowned researcher, we're told that's been a huge recruiting tool and we're told at least one more well known researcher will work with her.

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