Course Directors

 Presentation: Comparative genomics in the Cannabaceae: roots of chemical diversity

Paul D. Matthews, Ph.D.
Senior Research Scientist

Paul Matthews is Senior Research Scientist and Consultant at Cannabiologics, a company interest in genomics, biochemistry and crop improvement for medicinal specialty crops.

Paul has 25 years of research experience in academia and industry. Invested in developing genomic strategies for breeding of medicinal crops, Dr. Matthews pursues projects that have potential for significant impact on world health. Paul received his Ph.D. in Molecular, Developmental and Cellular Biology from City University of New York and postdoctoral training from Agronomy and Plant Genetics, University of Minnesota. Paul has specialized in crop improvement; including Vitamin A bio-fortification in maize and rice, biodegradable plastic production in tobacco, and development of molecular breeding in hops.  Author of over 30 peer-reviewed publications, patents and invited book chapters, Paul has presented at numerous universities and technical conferences.  Towards advancement of science and society, Dr. Matthews has been president of the Hop Research Council, an industry representative of the National Clean Plant Network, and is an Advisory Board Member at CannLabs.

As an academician, Paul has lectured on allied health, mathematics, statistics, history & philosophy of science, molecular genetics, and bioethics. Paul has mentored numerous graduate students and continually serves on Masters and Ph.D. advisory committees.

Specific areas of research expertise include: field breeding and genetics, breeding program development, marker-assisted selection, tissue culture and micropropagation, phytosanitation/import/export, IR4 registration, containment greenhouses, transformation, systems biology, metabolic engineering, analytical chemistry, phytochemistry, supercritical fluid extraction, synthetic biology, trichome biology, quantitative genetics, next generation sequencing, bioinformatics and genome-wide association studies (GWAS).

Presentation: The Characterization of Cannabis Concentrates by NMR Analysis

Mark A. Scialdone, Ph.D
Founder, President and Principal Consultant BetterChem Consulting LLC and Chief Science Officer Cannastract LLC

Mark Scialdone, is an organic chemist skilled at designing and synthesizing a wide variety of molecules and product formulations. He is an expert in organic synthesis, catalysis, natural product chemistry, plant oil extraction, characterization, analysis and chemical modification. He is a co-inventor of 23 issued US patents and has authored 15 publications in the scientific literature during almost two decades of both basic fundamental and product development research. He has given invited lectures at more than 30 different academic institutions and international scientific meetings,

Mark holds a Bachelor of Science and a Masters of Science in chemistry from Michigan Technological University, a Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry from Wayne State University and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Colorado State University.

In 2013 he founded BetterChem Consulting LLC as President and Principal Consultant and in 2014 he joined Cannastract LLC as the Chief Science Officer. BetterChem Consulting LLC provides consulting services to the chemical industry and Cannastract LLC is a science company bringing more science to the cannabis industry.

Presentation: Improving Analysis of Edibles, Topicals, and Related Products using Flash Chromatography

Melissa Wilcox
Technology Manager
Grace Discovery Sciences

Melissa Wilcox is currently the Technology Manager for Grace Discovery Sciences.  She has more than 20 years experience in chromatographic separations, with expertise in analytical chromatography and purification technologies.  She holds patents on evaporative light scattering detection technology and is involved in research and development, applications development, business development, and marketing.  Melissa is the Treasurer and Industry Liaison for the American Chemical Society (ACS) Cannabis Chemistry committee and a member of the American Oil Chemists Society (AOCS) cannabis methods expert panel.  She is part of a collaborative research team working to develop better analytical methods for cannabis products, focusing on edible products with complex matrices. 

Presentation: Advanced Quality Control Methods for Cannabis

Heather Despres
Lab Director at CannLabs, Inc
Heather Despres, has Bachelor of Science degrees from Clarkson University in Chemistry and Bio-Molecular Science and also a Master of Science degree from the University of Colorado at Denver in Chemistry. Her career includes work within the environmental and pharmaceutical fields including research and development.

As the previous lab director for both Full Spectrum Laboratories and Irish Canadian Bioresearch, Heather has worked on building laboratories from the ground up, implementing policies for method validation, sample chain of custody, and ensuring that all results that are received by clients are accurate to the highest degree possible.

Most recently Heather has been a part of working groups held by the State Licensing Authority of the Marijuana Enforcement Division. She has been involved in the Labeling, Packing, Product Safety, and Marketing working group as well as the Random Testing and Mandatory Sampling working group.

Presentation: Current Trends in Cannabis Extraction and Looking to the Future

Ezra Pryor, Ph.D
Owner of Ez Chem Consultancy, Inc.

Ezra Pryor, Owner of Ez Chem Consultancy Inc., has been interfacing directly with individuals and companies in and around the cannabis industry.  He previously held several staff positions at the University of Southern California including Instructional Lab Tech and Research Lab Manager.  There he designed and helped to execute experiments in engineering and material science.  He was also responsible for installing, running, and fixing analytical instruments, the same instrument which are used in the analysis of cannabis.

Ezra has since focused on acting as faculty for cannabis educational programs and working directly with those in the cannabis industry to improve their methods and quality of products produced.  His company has helped various clients with production of a wide range of cannabis products from shatter to infused beverages.  Ezra’s consultancy services are offered to those that can use help with developing an understanding of the options when it comes to extractions, executing logistics, purifying products, solving specific technical problems, or acquiring qualified staff.  Additionally, Ezra is the founding member and Chairman of the Committee for the Formation of a Cannabis Chemistry Division within the American Chemical Society.  In an industry where secrets are closely kept and misinformation is abundant, Ezra has been a lab partner for some and a beacon of light for many.

Presentation: Overview of Analytical Equipment for Plant Product Analysis

Speaker TBA
Agilent Technologies
Agilent is a leader in life sciences, diagnostics and applied chemical markets. The company provides laboratories worldwide with instruments, services, consumables, applications and expertise, enabling customers to gain the insights they seek. Agilent’s expertise and trusted collaboration give them the highest confidence in our solutions.


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