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Home > Scientific Advisory Board

Scientific Advisory Board

Our editorial advisory board consists of internationally renowned scientists and cannabis policy experts. Together, they help inform Analytical Cannabis’ reporting and editorial output, providing comments and guidance where necessary.

Lydia Abernethy

Testing and regulatory compliance expert at TraceTrust

Lydia Abernethy serves as the resident Testing and Regulatory Compliance Expert at TraceTrust, an edibles consultancy firm. In her previous role as Director of Cultivation Science at Steep Hill, she navigated regulations and developed alliances between government agencies, grow collectives, and farmers. Her knowledge and understanding of integrated pest management (IPM) and biocontrol systems served Steep Hill's customers in avoiding cultivation and manufacturing pitfalls which lead to regulatory failure.

Prior to joining the Steep Hill team, she garnered experience as a plant researcher and scientist within FDA-regulated biopharmaceutical manufacturing, large-scale agrichemical, and horticultural industries. As a Cultivation Technologies Specialist with Urban-Gro she established IPM programs and vetted product solutions in cannabis cultivation facilities nationwide. Lydia received her B.S. in Biological Sciences from North Carolina State University with additional studies in calculus and polymer and color chemistry.

Ini Afia

Co-founder, Cannsultation

Ini earned his Master of Science degree from University of Wisconsin, Madison, and draws upon more than 17 years of leadership experience as a microbiologist, analytical chemist, and lab director in the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, and cannabis industries. During his career, Ini has developed all analytical methods required by the California Bureau of Cannabis Control for lab cannabis analyses and led the analytical laboratory at Cannasafe to be the premier accredited cannabis testing lab in California, with over 150 employees and the greatest market-share holder in the space at its peak.

Ini’s work includes the analysis of heavy metal contaminants from vaporizer smoke and methods to identify intoxicants in illicit products, among others. In 2018, he co-authored the publication, "Terpenoid Chemoprofiles Distinguish Drug-type Cannabis sativa L. Cultivars in Nevada."

In 2020, he co-founded Cannsultation to fill the great void left in the analytical laboratory space by adding best-in-class practices, efficiency, and integrity.

Dr Nigam B. Arora

Founding partner, Marcu and Arora & Co-host and producer, How to Launch an Industry

Dr Arora received his PhD in interdisciplinary life sciences with a focus on organic and analytical chemistry from Purdue University. He has 15 years of experience working in novel scientific areas, business, and community building.

He co-founded Marcu & Arora along with cannabis industry veteran Dr Jahan Marcu in 2020 to bridge the gaps between business, science, and consumers in cannabis and psychedelics. The boutique firm provides life science services to multistate and multinational cannabis companies as well as psychedelics manufacturers and venture capital firms.

Dr Susan Audino

Chemistry laboratory consultant, SA Audino & Associates, LLC

Through her consulting firm, Dr Susan Audino provides scientific and technical guidance to cannabis dispensaries, testing laboratories, and medical personnel.

As a prominent expert in cannabis testing, she serves as the science advisor to the AOAC International Cannabis Analytical Science Program (CASP), sits on the board for the Center for Research on Environmental Medicine in Maryland, and is a member of the Executive Committee of the ASTM Cannabis Division. She has also been a member of the faculty at Teachable Medicine, where she now serves as an advisor, and a faculty member for the Society of Cannabis Clinicians training curriculum.

Susan is a keen advocate for cannabis consumer safety and the development of official test methods for the cannabis industry. She obtained her PhD in chemistry with an analytical chemistry major, physical, and biochemistry minor areas.

Dr Parveen Bhatarah

Regulatory and compliance lead, the Centre of Medicinal Cannabis and the Association for the Cannabinoid Industry

Parveen has over 20 years’ experience within the international pharmaceutical industry and regulatory environment, as well as 12 years’ experience in the medicinal cannabis industry, covering everything from cultivation to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of medicinal products. During that time, she has been responsible for the development of several clinical trials and commercial launches of bulk drug substances submitted to the FDA, the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), and other international regulatory agencies.

Parveen received her PhD in organic chemistry from Imperial College London and is a current fellow of and an advisor to the Royal Society of Chemistry. As an independent consultant, she also advises the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) and several figures in the UK’s CBD sector.

Julia Bramante

Chair, the American Chemical Society’s Cannabis Chemistry Subdivision

Julia received her BSc in chemistry from the University of Denver. After working in immunology and organic synthesis research, she began her career in the cannabis industry in 2014 at Gobi Labs, one of the first cannabis testing facilities to open in Colorado. She then moved to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Marijuana Reference Laboratory, where she currently serves as lead scientist.

Since January 2019, Julia has acted as the chair of the Cannabis Chemistry Subdivision of the American Chemical Society. She also acts as chair of the AOAC CASP Microbial Contaminants Working Group, serves on the AOAC CASP Cannabinoids Expert Review Panel, and is an active member of the Colorado Marijuana Science and Policy Working Group.

Jini Curry

Chief scientific officer, Modern Canna Labs, Lakeland, FL

Jini received her Bachelor’s degree with honors in biochemistry from the University of West Florida. Before jumping into the cannabis industry, she gained valuable research experience at several well-respected institutes, including Emory University, the National Institute of Aging, and the University of Florida. She began working at Modern Canna in 2016 and was promoted to chief scientific officer in 2022, the same year she earned a Masters Degree in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics from the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

Thanks to her background in environmental chemistry and biomedical genetics, Jini has an interest in studying cannabis from a medicinal and botanical standpoint, which aids her current focus of developing standardized methods for cannabis analysis.

Sabrina Didado

Founder and owner of Cosmic Harvest Hemp

Sabrina earned her Bachelor of Science degree with a focus on biochemistry at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio, her native state. Out of college, she helped a newly licensed medical marijuana facility build and start its processing lab. She has consulted with other processing cannabis and hemp facilities across the US. After becoming discouraged at the standards of the cannabis and hemp processing facilities she worked at, she founded Cosmic Harvest in October 2020 with the goal of making an ethical company with a strong focus on compliant products. She plans to launch her new THC isomer-focused hemp brand in spring of 2022 with the hopes of landing a cannabis licence soon to follow.

Stephen Goldman

Chief science officer, Kaycha Labs

Stephen Goldman joined the cannabis lab company PhytaTech, the predecessor company to Kaycha Labs Colorado, in 2015. Before joining Kaycha, Stephen served as an analytical chemist at a forensic lab certified by both the College of American Pathologists (CAP) and the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA). Prior to that, he was a chemist at Novartis, Kemin Industries, Genentech, and served as a contract chemist. His primary areas of focus are the lab operations in Colorado, research and development, new test development, and nationwide standardization.

Stephen is also a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, and the American Chemical Society’s Cannabis Chemistry Subdivision.

Alisia Ratliff

Chief executive officer of Victus Capital Ventures LLC

Alisia is the CEO of Victus Consulting Ventures, a cannabis business consulting firm. With over fifteen years of experience across several industries, Alisia uses a breadth of technical knowledge to help build start-up companies, develop strategic direction, and sustain brands in new emerging markets. She has written for Analytical Cannabis since 2021.

Robert Thomas

Principal, Scientific Solutions, a consulting company serving the educational needs of the trace element analysis user community

Rob has worked in the field of atomic and mass spectroscopy for more than 45 years, including 24 years for a manufacturer of atomic spectroscopic instrumentation. He has served on the American Chemical Society (ACS) Committee on Analytical Reagents (CAR) for the past 20 years as leader of the plasma spectrochemistry heavy metals task force, where he has worked very closely with the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) to align ACS heavy metal testing procedures with pharmaceutical guidelines.

Rob is also the editor and frequent contributor of the Atomic Perspectives column in Spectroscopy magazine, has authored over 100 publications, including five textbooks on the fundamental principles and applications of ICP-MS. His most recent book, published in October 2020, focuses on the measurement of heavy metal contaminants in cannabis and hemp. Rob has an advanced degree in analytical chemistry from the University of Wales, UK, and is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC) and a Chartered Chemist (CChem).