Highlighted Partner

Growing a Better World: The New Hemp Center of Excellence

Recently, Shimadzu Scientific Instruments (SSI) joined forces with Front Range Biosciences (FRB) in the buildout of the Hemp Science Center of Excellence, a 39,000-sq ft.2 research center in Boulder, Colorado. The facility will be a conduit for and generator of collaborations of academic, non-profit, and governmental agencies to further our understanding of Cannabis sativa, highlighting a much needed, giant step forward for humankind.

  1. sativa has demonstrated properties useful for everything from cleaning up our tainted earth [1], helping an Earth with dwindling resources supplant usage of fossil fuels [2], providing a year-round (in some places) pollination source and, therefore, nutrient supply to honeybees [3], providing that same nutrient supply to humanity [4], and helping us find some sense of peace amongst the chaos of modern day living [5].

Thus, our need is nigh, and after 80+ years of unfortunate ignorance, scientists and clinicians are finally able to tap the trichomes to assess their riches. In this story, the two forces combine analytical expertise to provide the tools and the brain trust to best make sense of the information, and a vertically-integrated agricultural biotechnology company that focuses on ways to optimize their cultivars through genetics, breeding, and tissue culture. Both entities epitomize the data driven approach to problem solving — for SSI, a way of life, and for FRB, the clear path of the future.

I spoke with Bob Clifford, general manager of marketing at SSI about the collaboration.

“Shimadzu is the world leader in cannabis analytical testing because we have the broadest portfolio of exceptionally reliable analytical solutions on the market,” Clifford began. “We will leverage our expertise to provide FRB not only today’s technologies, but also work together to design solutions that advance agricultural and horticultural science.”

“Shimadzu selected Front Range Biosciences as a partner,” he continued, “because they are world leaders in agricultural science with a unique blend of expertise in cannabis/hemp breeding, genetics, and analytical science. FRB enables growers to reduce crop loss due to pathogens, quickly determine gender, and develop new cultivars that showcase the most valuable commercial properties.”

The Hemp Science Center of Excellence is more than a powerful R&D center. It’s also a nucleus of horticulture partners working together to address current and future challenges. The data collected via this collaboration and from the unity of researchers under one roof provides another glint of light as we molt from a darkened, disfigured world where even hemp, a plant once briefly resurrected for war, had been ostracized as irrelevant.

“From products with higher nutritive value to helping farmers succeed, this partnership represents a great opportunity to benefit humankind and the earth,” Clifford expanded.

FRB’s focus on next-generation sequencing technology and bioinformatics has helped them design a “marker-assisted” breeding program to screen, identify, and propagate desirable plant traits such that they can offer growers healthier, happier plants at higher yields, increased predictability, and, subsequently, budding profitability.

Students, postdocs, and visiting researchers take note. This keystone will construct a strong foundation for empowering our understanding of hemp science and how it relates to our immediate and long-term future. And this is just the beginning as the FRB and SSI partnership is expanding via research programs with universities including University of California-Davis, University of Vermont, Cornell University, and, of course, the University of Colorado-Boulder.

“We believe,” Clifford concluded, “that Front Range Biosciences’ capabilities coupled with SSI’s advanced analytical technologies enable us the opportunity to cultivate ideas that generate more sustainable farming practices and, in short, grow a better world.”


  1. Linger P. et al. Industrial Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) Growing on Heavy Metal Contaminated Soil: Fibre Quality and Phytoremediation Potential. Industrial Crops and Products. 2002;16(1):33–42. [journal impact factor = 4.450; timed cited 131 (SemanticScholar)]
  2. Crini G., Lichtfouse E., Chanet G., Morin-Crini N. Traditional and New Applications of Hemp. In: Crini G., Lichtfouse E. (eds) Sustainable Agriculture Reviews 42. Springer, Cham, 2020. [journal impact factor = N/A; timed cited 1 (SemanticScholar)]
  3. O’Brien, C. and Arathi, H. Bee diversity and abundance on flowers of industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa L.). Biomass & Bioenergy.2019;122:331-335. [journal impact factor = 3.740; timed cited 5 (SemanticScholar)]
  4. Leizer, C. et al. The Composition of Hemp Seed Oil and Its Potential as an Important Source of Nutrition. Journal of Nutraceuticals, Functional & Medical Foods. 2000;2:35-53. [journal impact factor = 2.150; timed cited 134 (SemanticScholar)]
  5. Crippa JA, Guimarães FS, Campos AC, Zuardi AW. Translational Investigation of the Therapeutic Potential of Cannabidiol (CBD): Toward a New Age. Front Immunol. 2018;9:2009. [journal impact factor = 6.429; timed cited 50 (SemanticScholar)]

About the author

Jason S. Lupoi, Ph.D.

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