Chemistry student, Justin Blalock, calibrates an Agilent 1290 Ultra-High Pressure Liquid Chromatograph

LSSU Cannabis Center of Excellence

Chemistry student, Justin Blalock, calibrates an Agilent 1290 Ultra-High Pressure Liquid Chromatograph

 

Lake Superior State University and Agilent Technologies Inc. have formed a strategic relationship to facilitate education and research in cannabis chemistry and analysis. The LSSU Cannabis Center of Excellence (CoE), is a state-of-the-art facility aimed at establishing a convergence of  education and research across the sciences related to the rapidly expanding cannabis industry.

Dr. Rodney Hanley, LSSU President, commented, “This new strategic partnership is going to focus on the serious intellectual scientific inquiry of cannabis. Our graduates will meet the demand for qualified analytical chemists in both the scientific and cannabis communities.”

The focus of the new LSSU Cannabis CoE will be training undergraduate students as job-ready chemists, experienced in multi-million dollar instrumentation and modern techniques. Students will be using Agilent’s preeminent scientific instruments in their coursework and in faculty-mentored undergraduate research.

“I am proud of the hard work our faculty put into not only our new cannabis programs, but also for developing partnerships with industry-leading companies such as Agilent,” stated Dr. Lynn Gillette, LSSU Provost & Vice President of Academic Affairs. “This level of dedication squarely positions our graduates for the most sought-after careers in the multi-billion dollar cannabis industry.”

The LSSU Cannabis CoE houses over $2 million dollars in new Agilent instrumentation that is comprised of:

  • Agilent 1290 Ultra-High Pressure Liquid Chromatograph with a 6470 Tandem Mass Spectrometer (UHPLC-MS/MS) used for pesticide and mycotoxin analysis
  • Agilent 1290 Ultra-High Pressure Liquid Chromatograph with a Time of Flight Mass Spectrometer (UHPLC-TOF) used for unknown cannabinoid identification
  • Agilent 8890 Gas Chromatograph with 7010B Tandem Mass Spectrometer (GC-MS/MS) used for pesticide analysis
  • Agilent 1260 Liquid Chromatograph Diode Array (LC-DAD) used for potency testing
  • Agilent 8890 Gas Chromatograph with 5977B Mass Spectrometer (GC/MS) including a 7697A Headspace Sampler used for terpene profiles 
  • Agilent 8890 Gas Chromatograph with Flame Ionization Detector (GC-FID/ECD) including a 7697A Headspace Sampler used for residual solvent analysis
  • Agilent 7800 Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass spectrometer (ICP-MS) used for trace metals analysis
  • Agilent 4200 Microwave Plasma Atomic Emission Spectrometer (MP-AES) used for metals / major cation analysis

“The LSSU Cannabis Center of Excellence was created to provide a platform for our students to be at the forefront of the cannabis analytics industry,” commented Dr. Steve Johnson, Dean of the College of Science and the Environment. “The instrumentation available is rarely paralleled at other undergraduate institutions. The focus of the cannabis program is to provide our graduates with the analytical skills necessary to move successfully into the cannabis industry.”

In February 2019, LSSU launched the first program in the U.S. focused squarely on cannabis chemistry. LSSU aims to be a premier training center for the next generation of quantitative chemists, that possess the skills necessary to thrive in both the scientific and cannabis communities alike. The LSSU Cannabis CoE will be housed in a dedicated 2600 sq. ft. facility within the Crawford Hall of Science.

The response from industry insiders has been very positive, and has even lead to new opportunities for LSSU students. Storm Shriver, Laboratory Director at Unitech Laboratories stated, “I was very excited to learn about your degree offerings as there is a definite shortage of chemists who have experience with data analysis and operation of the analytical equipment required for the analysis of cannabis. I am running into this now as I begin hiring and scouting for qualified individuals. I am definitely interested in a summer internship program with my laboratory.”

Julia Bramante, Chair of the Cannabis Chemistry subdivision at the American Chemical Society remarked, “There is a burgeoning demand for highly skilled scientific professionals in the cannabis space, especially in the fields of research and clinical trials, product development and manufacturing, analytical testing, quality control, and regulation.”

“Agilent is proud to support the LSSU Cannabis Center of Excellence,” said Steven Gagliardi, Agilent’s Senior Director of Laboratory Solutions Sales. “The strong program that LSSU has developed, combined with Agilent’s innovative instrumentation, is sure to cultivate industry-leading analytical chemists in this fast-growing area of cannabis research.”