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CRC LEADERS

Meet the Team: Meet the Team
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JAMES FAUST, PH.D.

Professor of Floriculture Physiology
Plant and Environmental Sciences Department, Experiment Station, Clemson University

Dr. Jim Faust has conducted research for the floriculture industry for over 30 years. His research has always focused on identifying practical solutions for the most important production and postharvest challenges facing greenhouse growers. He is a founding member of the Floriculture Research Alliance, which is the prototype for the CRC and which has successfully generated cutting-edge research to greenhouse growers for the last 17 years.

 

Dr. Faust’s research ranges from environmental (temperature, light, and humidity) management, plant nutrition, cultural practices, plant growth regulation, and postharvest performance. He has worked extensively with U.S. growers, unrooted-cutting suppliers in Central America, and cut-flower growers in South America. Two years ago, he initiated a cannabis research program at Clemson University focused on mother plant management, propagation methodology, flowering (photoperiod responses), and postharvest drying and curing.

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ASHLEY MANNING

COO, Cannabis Research Coalition & The Hemp Mine

Ashley Manning is a Brand Builder and seasoned executive in the cannabis industry, boasting an impressive record of business optimization and brand development across each cannabis vertical.

Her success in navigating the intricate landscapes of cannabis legalization and regulations has led to numerous advisory roles to policymakers across the nation. Ashley is applying her extensive knowledge and passion for cannabis and academia to drive cultivation research to the forefront through sustainable, efficient and profitable industry protocols.

 

Ashley's profound expertise in the cannabis and hemp industry is showcased through her service on numerous boards, reinforcing her leadership and command beyond the scope of conventional business operations. 

 

Her robust executive leadership and boardroom experience, combined with her exceptional ability to assist in significant capital raises, have firmly established Ashley as a formidable industry heavyweight. Her contributions continue to make a significant impact, paving the way for future growth and development in these burgeoning fields.

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MIYABE SHIELDS, PH.D  (they/them)

Scientific Advisor

Dr. Miyabe Shields, PhD is a queer, neurodivergent scientist. After cannabis positively changed their ability to relate to others at the age of 15, Miyabe dedicated their life to understanding the inner workings of the neurodivergent brain on drugs. Miyabe began their academic research in pharmaceutical sciences specializing in drug discovery in the endocannabinoid system where they have been awarded for their pre-doctoral research by the International Cannabinoid Research Society.

 

After completing their PhD, Miyabe co-founded a cannabis research startup focused on  rare extract and formulation research, investigating the complex chemistry of heat-transformed cannabinoids in naturalistic settings. In 2021, Miyabe began to share their personal experience with cannabis as a medicine and educate at the community level leveraging social media and podcast platforms, reaching over 6 million people.

 

After stepping down from their position in the industry, Miyabe branched into educating and advocating for cannabis and psychedelics for mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing. The significance of our connection with natural medicines should not be underestimated in regards to its contribution to the therapeutic value of the molecules it produces. And the prohibition of the safe and reasonable exploration of this connection is an infringement on a primal human freedom and an evolutionarily ancient pillar of our health and wellness as individuals and as a community.

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SELINA LABLANCHE​

Cultivation Research Tech

Meet Selina LaBlanche, whose academic and professional journey has been driven by her passion for cannabis and hemp. Even before pursuing them academically, Selina developed a fascination with these plants. During high school, she actively engaged in projects focused on hemp, and upon graduating, she enrolled in a dual enrollment program to obtain her associates degree in horticulture from Spartanburg Community College. In addition, Selina holds certifications in sustainable agriculture and permaculture.

What sets Selina apart is her unique perspective rooted in her deep appreciation for sustainability and resourcefulness. She possesses a profound interest in harnessing the full potential of every part of the hemp plant, using them to create a diverse array of products such as textiles, jewelry, and nutritional goods. Her unwavering commitment to exploring the various possibilities of hemp demonstrates her dedication to innovation and maximizing its benefits.

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ALLISON JUSTICE, PH.D

Founder & CEO, Cannabis Research Coalition & The Hemp Mine

 

Dr. Allison Justice, an alumnus of Clemson University where she garnered a Ph.D. in Plant and Environmental Science, and now a pioneering figure in the dynamic field of cannabis cultivation and research. With a groundbreaking tenure as VP of Cultivation for a leading vertically integrated cannabis producer based in San Diego, CA, she navigated uncharted territories and led the industry with profound photobiology research. Dr. Justice shattered misconceptions around sole-source LEDs, demonstrating their superiority over traditional technologies in cannabis cultivation. This innovative research catalyzed a two-fold expansion of total canopy area and facilitated a staggering 60% reduction in energy costs.

Today, she is the proud Founder and CEO of The Hemp Mine, a 20-acre innovative hemp farm, breeding company, and hemp product manufacturer. Offering a diverse range of products—from smoke-able flower to tinctures of varied concentrations for humans and animals—The Hemp Mine has made its mark in over 1,500 retail stores across the southeastern USA.

Dr. Justice has not only been recognized by esteemed organizations like the California Industrial Hemp Advisory Board and SC Farm Bureau for her contributions but has also received several accolades, including being named one of the top "40 Under 40 in Cannabis" by Marijuana Venture Magazine, and one of Dope Magazine’s Four Dope Women. Moreover, City Beat celebrated her as one of “San Diego’s Most Important People”. With her unwavering dedication to research and education, she is reshaping the standards of cannabis and hemp cultivation across all significant production systems, bringing an in-depth understanding of efficient cultivation & extraction practices to the forefront.

Recently, Dr. Justice blazed another trail by founding the Cannabis Research Coalition. This endeavor, a strategic partnership between Clemson University and The Hemp Mine, unites industry leaders, scientists, and stakeholders committed to addressing the cultivation and postharvest issues that the cannabis industry faces today. The Coalition's mission is to advance the exploration of the cannabis plant and facilitate science-based research that paves the way for a sustainable, efficient, and profitable industry.

In the world of cannabis and hemp cultivation, Dr. Allison Justice is more than a scientist—she's a visionary, a trailblazer, and an embodiment of relentless dedication. Through her revolutionary efforts, she continues to inspire and shape the future of the cannabis industry.

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MARKUS ROGGEN, PH.D.

Scientific Advisor

Dr. Markus Roggen brings scientific and leadership experience to the cannabis industry, both from an academic background in organic chemistry, and industry experience in crop protection, plant analytics and pharmaceutical manufacturing.

In his various roles and positions, Dr. Roggen oversaw multiple teams that are focused on the whole processing flow of cannabis production, from harvest and drying, through processing and extraction, all the way to formulation and quality control/analytics. In addition he conducts R&D projects on extraction and formulation of medical marijuana products.


Responsibilities of the production operations included all forms of plant handling, extraction/separation by supercritical carbon dioxide, rosin press and trichrome separation, and scaling of facilities and equipment for the expanding business. His skilled teams are well versed in the full spectrum of the acronym table, from GMP, via QC and QA, to HACCP, even six sigma and kaizen.

His research interests lie in the metabolite composition and behavior throughout the production cycle, SFE process optimization, and development of innovative therapeutic formulations.

Utilizing in-depth understanding of global regulatory, clinical and technology developments in cannabis science, Dr. Roggen has collaborated on internal and external due diligence, marketing campaigns, and market intelligence.

Finally, Dr. Markus Roggen is a trusted advisor and mentor for multiple startups, startup accelerators and organizations. 

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MICHAEL ALDEN​

Graduate Research Assistant,

Clemson University

Michael Alden is a Ph.D. student with Dr. Jim Faust at Clemson University. His dissertation research explores the photoperiodic responses of cannabis as well as the physiological effects of flushing before harvest. Alden and Faust also devised the “cann-settia” cultivation strategy, which incorporates techniques from poinsettia production to improve yield and uniformity in cannabis production. Before cannabis research, Alden gained several years of experience growing poinsettias during his master’s research and undergraduate work.

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