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Penn State, QIAGEN announce strategic partnership to advance microbiome sciences

25 January 2024

Penn State, known for innovations in interdisciplinary research, and QIAGEN LLC, a leader in sample-to-insight solutions, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to foster advancements in microbiome sciences. The alliance establishes a multi-layered partnership spanning research, education and outreach.

Penn State is home to the One Health Microbiome Center (OHMC) in the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences. This center is hub for both research and education, focused on the communities of diverse microbes that form the base of the biosphere and are essential to address human and ecosystem health challenges in the coming decades.

group of people standing outside Millennium Science Complex
A visit for QIAGEN to Penn State and the One Health Microbiome Center also included sessions where the QIAGEN team met with students to discuss opportunities. Credit: Christie Clancy

QIAGEN is a global molecular research and diagnostics company serving more than 500,000 customers across more than 60 countries. Their products enable scientists and clinicians to unlock molecular insights encoded in the building blocks of life. The comprehensive microbiome product portfolio includes tools for every aspect of the scientific workflow, including reliable sample preparation kits optimized for investigating challenging samples from environmental and human microbiomes.

"Penn State’s commitment to open-minded inquiry and innovation is perfectly complemented by QIAGEN's forward-thinking in the life sciences sector. We are grateful for QIAGEN’s contributions, as this partnership is a bridge that will bring our mutual microbiome expertise into new realms,” said Andrew Read, interim senior vice president for research at Penn State.

The collaboration will enable OHMC to create a research and training environment supported by in-kind contributions from QIAGEN, including instruments and reagents. This will boost workflow capabilities for profiling microbiomes and providing firsthand biotechnology skills training for students and postdoctoral researchers. Moreover, Penn State labs may be selected by QIAGEN to participate in testing and assessment of new QIAGEN products, which may lead to optimization of tools and assays for microbiome sciences applications. The center’s vast diversity of microbial research systems will support assessments for a range of sample types.

"This partnership enhances our research support capabilities and opens up new avenues for student training and workforce development vital in today’s fast-evolving scientific landscape," said Troy Ott, acting director of the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences.  

The agreement also includes opportunities for graduate students to pursue international internship experiences in the microbiome technologies research and development laboratory at QIAGEN. This opportunity to contribute to real-world product development provides students with the chance to prepare for diverse career paths in the microbiome-biotechnology realm.  

"By bridging the gap between academia and industry in a multi-year partnership, we are well-positioned to shape the future of a university-industry alliance in the microbiome sciences and to equip our students, research and educational endeavors with the formative capacities to lead the way in microbiome solutions for human health, agricultural output and environmental sustainability," said Seth Bordenstein, director of the One Health Microbiome Center and Huck Endowed Chair in the Microbiome Sciences.

Nitin Sood, senior vice president and head of the Life Sciences Business Area at QIAGEN, spoke to the potential of the collaboration.

“This new partnership with Penn State, one of the leading academic research institutions in the field of microbiome research, is anchored by a shared vision for an interconnection between the health of humans, animals and ecosystems," Sood said. "It will help shape research, education and outreach in the young field of the microbiome sciences, and hopefully, accelerate the careers of a new generation of scientists interested in this field. Additionally, it will foster relationships with the microbiome research community and enable us to better develop new products for microbiome research based on direct customer feedback.”

The Eberly College of Science and the Corporate Engagement Center played key roles in the three-year MOU, and the various agreements that accompanied it, and will conduct periodic reviews to identify growth opportunities that strengthen mutual institutional goals.

“I have been amazed and humbled by QIAGEN’s generosity and dedication to advancing scientific exploration and educational excellence," said Ashley Chan, director of corporate engagement at the Corporate Engagement Center. "It is a privilege to work with the numerous individuals at QIAGEN who championed this fantastic initiative.”

For more information about the partnership, please contact Chan at or Nichole Ginnan, research project manager at the One Health Microbiome Center, at

About Penn State

Penn State is a multi-campus, land-grant, public research University that educates students from around the world, and supports individuals and communities through integrated programs of teaching, research and service. Penn State is an R1 university, a classification given by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Higher Education to the very best research universities in America, reaching a record $1.239 billion in research expenditures during fiscal year 2022-23. The University’s discovery-oriented, collaborative and interdisciplinary research and scholarship promote human and economic development, global understanding, and advancement in professional practice through the expansion of knowledge and its applications in the natural and applied sciences, social and behavioral sciences, engineering, technology, arts and humanities, and myriad professions. The University’s instructional mission includes undergraduate, graduate, professional, continuing and extension education, offered through both resident instruction and distance learning. Penn State’s educational programs are enriched by the talent, knowledge, diversity, creativity and teaching and research acumen of its faculty, students and staff. As Pennsylvania’s sole land-grant university, Penn State provides unparalleled access to education and public service to support the citizens of the commonwealth and beyond. The University engages in collaborative activities with private sector, educational and governmental partners worldwide to generate, integrate, apply and disseminate knowledge that is valuable to society. For more information, visit  


QIAGEN N.V., a Netherlands-based holding company, is the leading global provider of sample-to-insight solutions that enable customers to gain valuable molecular insights from samples containing the building blocks of life. Our sample technologies isolate and process DNA, RNA and proteins from blood, tissue and other materials. Assay technologies make these biomolecules visible and ready for analysis. Bioinformatics software and knowledge bases interpret data to report relevant, actionable insights. Automation solutions tie these together in seamless and cost-effective workflows. QIAGEN provides solutions to more than 500,000 customers around the world in molecular diagnostics (human health care) and life sciences (academia, pharmaceutical research and development, and industrial applications, primarily forensics). As of Sept. 30, 2023, QIAGEN employed more than 6,000 people in over 35 locations worldwide. Further information can be found at