Latham Hall was constructed in 2006 with support from Virginia Higher Education bonds. The five-floor, 85,000 sq. ft. building houses researchers from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Natural Resources and Environment, and the College of Science. A $5 million endowment provided by William and Elizabeth Latham, co-chairs of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Campaign Steering Committee, provided research equipment and continues to provide financial support for undergraduate and graduate students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Building equipment includes multiple reach-in growth chambers, eight walk-in growth chambers, an insectary, and resources supporting mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography. A 40-person seminar room, a conference room, and several smaller meeting rooms are available for researcher interaction and informal gatherings.
Approximately 39 scientists—all affiliated faculty members of the Fralin Life Science Institute—operate laboratories in Latham Hall. Their research interests include bio-design, bioprocessing, fisheries, wildlife and geography, forestry and water, infectious diseases, plant-pathogen-environment interactions, and soils. John McDowell, associate professor of plant pathology, physiology, and weed science, is the Fralin Life Science Institute principal scientist responsible for the general oversight of the building and coordination. The Molecular Plant Science graduate program is housed in Latham Hall, and is supported by the Fralin Life Science Institute as well as seven participating departments and their associated colleges. The program, which allows Ph.D. candidates to work in a wide variety of research areas such as plant genomics, disease resistance, metabolic engineering, bioproduction, bioprocessing, and forest biotechnology, is an example of the synergy and teamwork that distinguishes the building.