SOAR Student Profiles

Anna Yuhas

Anna Yuhas

  • SOAR Position: Member
  • Major: Forensic Science
  • Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. John DuBois

Current Focus: Initiation and Cannabinoid Assessment of Trichomes on Industrial Hemp (Cannabis sativa)

Additional Interests: Assessment Profile of Cannabinoids and Terpenoids in Five Varieties of Industrial Hemp (Cannabis sativa)

Project Description

Industrial hemp has been used throughout history for mechanical and medicinal uses, even today industrial hemp is proving to be a diverse provider for many areas of need in the modern world. In the textile industry, it is used as a cleaner alternative to cotton when it comes to the carbon footprint the industry is leaving behind on our planet. Recently, research has focused on the secondary metabolite-producing structure of the plant: the trichome. Trichomes on hemp plants are little hair-like structures located on the epidermis of the plant that produces secondary metabolites, specifically, cannabinoids. Medically important cannabinoids that have been found in these structures include Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), Cannabinol (CBD), and at least 100 more cannabinoids. The objective of my research project is to produce industrial hemp trichomes in laboratory settings and analyze the cannabinoid concentration of five hemp varieties. The main goal of this experiment is to identify whether trichomes can be produced in a petri dish long-term in the laboratory rather than from flower bud tissue agriculturally.

Why does this topic interest you?

Completing the analysis and thesis regarding the cannabinoid assessment of industrial hemp will help me in my pursuit to become an MD/ Ph. D. graduate after the completion of my undergraduate Forensic Science education at MTSU. I plan on going into the forensic medical field where research such as this will help aid in the medicolegal and scientific issues that will come. Specifically, this research will aid in my working knowledge of controlled substances and the legalities and procedures surrounding the world of research that could help in the production of a new medicinal agent. Not only will this research opportunity help expand my knowledge on the topic, but it will also allow me to become familiar with professional lab techniques and operations that I will need to execute perfectly in my future medicolegal profession.

What are your professional aspirations?

My career goal is to become a Forensic Pathologist, I am currently studying Forensic Science, a specifically crafted degree by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU). I am taking part in varying forms of volunteering including hospice services and first-generation student mentoring. In addition, I am also interested in continuing my education in Forensic Anthropology, to hopefully be a Forensic Pathologist at a Medical Examiner's office and a Forensic Anthropology consultant. I will also continue to work with palliative care, hospice, and mentoring outside of my medico-legal profession.

Do you have any advice for future researchers?

Do not be afraid to consult the library and professors for any help regarding research methods and materials. Take a chance by asking the questions you have always had regarding a subject. Do not let one person's bad experiences determine your choices. Above all, work towards a career that you believe you will always have questions about as that will give you the motivation to solve them and therefore advance the field in which you are working.

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