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Josh JonesDr. Josh Jones is Research Scientist at LivWell Enlightened Health in Denver, Colorado. LivWell is one of the nation’s largest Cannabis producers, employing approximately 600 people. Due to the substantial demand for retail cannabis, which was legalized in Colorado in 2014, LivWell has been expanding rapidly to meet consumer interests. Josh’s role at LivWell, in collaboration with a small team of dedicated R&D scientists, is to generate new ideas for the efficient scaling-up of Cannabis production. He contributes to a variety of projects, both in ‘The Garden’ and in the Marijuana Infused Products laboratory (aka, ‘The MIP’), where he spends much of his time helping build a product development laboratory. Being afforded this range of problem-solving opportunities, from designing plant-harvest processes, to chromatographic separations and fractional distillation of Cannabis extracts, readily demonstrates the power of a background in Chemistry.
Josh decided to partake in the Cannabis Industry immediately after earning his Ph.D. from CUNY (July, 2015.) Two weeks after defending his thesis, having moved back to his native Colorado and willing to try something new, Josh accepted a position as Chief Chemist at Folium Biosciences, an ambitious start-up company manufacturing cannabidiol (CBD) from a proprietary strain of industrial hemp. He gained valuable experience in supercritical CO2 extraction of CBD at pilot-plant scale (7kg extract/day), and designed refinement processes for these crude CBD extracts. He also engaged in customer-specific product development, and generally aimed to advance the company’s operations. Six months later, stimulated by the abundant opportunities an emerging industry can bring, Josh accepted a position as Research Scientist at LivWell, where he has remained since.
Josh’s draw to synthetic chemistry (besides the alluring smells!) has been 'Green Chemistry', or industrial sustainability. During undergraduate studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder (graduated 2009), he worked on the design & synthesis of improved dyes for dye-sensitized solar cells in the labs of Prof. Josef Michl. While there, he was mentored by Dr. Akin Akdag, a post-doctoral researcher (at the time), who shared the creativity & struggles of synthetic chemistry. Dr. Akdag was an important influence who encouraged Josh’s application to graduate programs in Chemistry. Upon acceptance to CUNY’s Graduate Center, he began work towards a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry under Professor Brenner-Moyer at Brooklyn College. While there, he focused on organocatalysis, the use of (modified) amino acids as chiral catalysts for drug development, agricultural derivatization, and industrial sustainability. This experience afforded him extensive experience in synthetic chemistry, experimental design, analytical methods and literature research, all of which have proven valuable for diagnosing & solving problems in the Cannabis Industry.