The Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences


A brief overview of the history of the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences at Penn State, from their inception in the mid-1990s as the Life Sciences Consortium to the present day

Founded to promote interdisciplinary research and education

Two people calibrate an instrumentThe Huck Institutes were founded in 1996 as the Life Sciences Consortium to encourage greater coordination and interdisciplinary collaboration in the life sciences at Penn State.


From the outset, the consortium has aimed to promote interdisciplinary research, develop innovative graduate programs, enhance the quality and diversity of life sciences faculty, and improve shared technology resources.


The Huck Institutes are one of several interdisciplinary research units established and supported by the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research. Interactions between units are actively explored. For instance, the Huck Institutes have links with the Materials Research Institute, the Social Science Research InstitutePenn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment, and the Institute for CyberScience.


More about the founding of the Life Sciences Consortium, from the archives of Penn State Public Information.


Renamed in honor of the Hucks

The Hucks, 2007In 2002, the Life Sciences Consortium was renamed as the Dorothy Foehr Huck and J. Lloyd Huck Institute for Life Sciences in recognition of the Hucks' leadership and generosity in support of the life sciences at Penn State University.

In 2007, the Hucks made a further $20 million commitment to teaching, research and other academic activities in the Huck Institutes. "They saw a potential for greatness in the work of the faculty and students," said Penn State President Graham B. Spanier, "We are deeply grateful for their generosity in transforming that potential into reality."


More about the Hucks and their generous commitment:




Peter HudsonThe current director of the Huck Institutes is Peter J. Hudson, Willaman Professor of Biology. Author of more than 200 scientific papers, Dr Hudson has an international reputation in the study of the dynamics of infectious diseases, particularly those that affect wildlife, and in population dynamics.

Dr Hudson received his DPhil in Zoology from the University of Oxford in 1979. He worked for the Game Conservancy Trust from 1979 to 1995, first as a Research Scientist, then as Upland Research Manager. In 1995, he moved to the University of Stirling as a Reader in Wildlife Epidemiology, and in 1998 was promoted to a Personal Chair in Animal Ecology. In 2002, he accepted the Willaman Chair in Biology at Penn State, where he established the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics.


Channa ReddyC. Channa Reddy, Distinguished Professor, was director from 2002 to 2006. Dr Reddy has an international reputation in the field of molecular enzymology, particularly the enzymes associated with the prostaglandin and leukotriene biosynthesis. In 1992, Dr Reddy was elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Dr Reddy received his doctoral degree in biochemistry from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, in 1975. After completing his postdoctoral work in the Department of Chemistry at Penn State in 1979, he accepted a research associate position in the Center for Air Environment; he later joined the Department of Veterinary Science (now Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences), becoming distinguished professor in 1991, and Head of the department in 1999. He also has served as director of the Pathobiology Graduate Program, director of the Center for Molecular Toxicology and director of the Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Toxicity Graduate Program.


Nina FedoroffNina V. Fedoroff, Willaman Professor of Life Sciences and Evan Pugh Professor of Biology, was director at the Life Sciences Consortium's inception. Author of Mendel in the Kitchen: A Scientist's View of Genetically Modified Foods (2004), Dr Fedoroff is internationally renowned for her work in plant molecular biology and genetics.

Dr Fedoroff earned a bachelor's degree in biology and chemistry, summa cum laude, at Syracuse University in 1966.