BCIT Researcher earns her PhD

Elizabeth Mudge, BCIT Researcher, earned her Doctor of Philosophy after successfully defending her PhD thesis titled Chemometrics and Metabolomics of Cannabis sativa L. through UBC Okanagan’s Department of Chemistry. The main focus of Dr. Mudge’s research explored the phytochemical diversity of cannabis strains using metabolomics to identify the impacts on breeding and domestication.

BCIT Dr. Elizabeth Mudge
BCIT’s Dr. Elizabeth Mudge has successfully defended her PhD thesis.

Dr. Mudge has worked with the BCIT Natural Health and Food Products Research Group (NRG) as a Research Associate since 2011. She is one of NRG’s specialists in the development and validation of analytical methods for phytochemicals and natural health products.

Her project was co-supervised by Dr. Paula Brown, BCIT Director of Natural Health and Food Products Research Group (NRG) & Adjunct with UBC Okanagan Biology, and Dr. Susan Murch of UBC Okanagan Chemistry.

It was not until May 2016 that Dr. Mudge began her PhD program and undertook experiments in BCIT’s licensed lab that are authorized to perform cannabis testing and research.

“BCIT Applied Research is extremely proud of Dr. Elizabeth Mudge’s achievement” says Kim Dotto, Dean, Applied Research and Center for Applied Research and Innovation “and we congratulate her on successfully completing her doctorate degree.”

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Research that advances the field

Before cannabis became legalized in Canada, it was categorized as a controlled substance. As a controlled substance, the majority of cannabis breeding practices took place in underground programs that produced as many as thousands of different cannabis strains.

In Dr. Mudge’s research project, the primary selection criteria included the plants ability to make people high (potency), aroma, plant characteristics and/or plant vigor, and experience. It was hypothesized that these selections could reduce the phytochemical diversity of the strains by selecting out undesirable characteristics. She used in-depth analytical methods to evaluate the phytochemical profiles of the strains in conjunction with advanced algorithms to identify loses of phytochemical diversity. Some of her work identifying these impacts have recently been published in Scientific Reports.

Her research enabled her to gain experience in chemometrics and metabolomics to explore data relationships and evaluate underlying variances within complex data sets. She hopes to continue working in analytical chemistry and incorporating her knowledge of data analytics to advance the field.

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