Medicinal Plant Chemistry Club gains partnership with Orion GMP Solutions, volunteer opportunities

Members+of+the+Medicinal+Plant+Chemistry+Club+posing+for+photo+as+they+take+a+break+from+picking+up+trash+in+Presque+Isle+Park

Photo courtesy of Medicinal Plant Chemistry Club HELPING HANDS – Members of the Medicinal Plant Chemistry club picking up trash through Moosewood Center at Presque Isle Park.

Ashley Beronja

NMU’s Medicinal Plant Chemistry Club has made a partnership with Orion GMP Solutions for a mutually beneficial, volunteer opportunity for student collaboration with the company by exposing undergraduate junior and senior students into the professional field and work with their database research.

“The volunteer opportunity will entail NMU students building, with Orion GMP Solutions, a digital library of cannabis research. This will allow for the sharing of published documents in a searchable database,” John Barfoot, post-bachelor junior medicinal plant chemistry major and president of the MPCC said. “This can aid students’ personal research for capstone projects and aid in student partnerships between Orion GMP Solutions or other companies who decide to partner with this database project,”

The MPCC is a semiprofessional student organization that aims to connect students who are still in the program to industries after graduating and provide them with work and learning experience. One industry that MPCC has connected with is Orion GMP Solutions.

Orion GMP Solutions, according to their website, is a “pharmaceutical consulting firm that brings expertise in pharmaceutical quality management systems and good manufacturing practices to the internal cannabis industry.”

By working with Orion GMP Solutions, MPCC is able to acheive their goal in connecting their members with professionals in the field for hands on experience and a chance for those interested to see what job opportunties await for them after completing their degree.

“This partnership is understood to be mutually beneficial. Students can volunteer time to help with the database as a way to learn about cannabis research and gain recognition in a professional setting,” Barfoot said. “The database, and any student contributions, will be the property of Orion GMP Solutions and will continue to be if the partnership is absolved. It is also understood Orion GMP Solutions, at any time, may publicize this library at their discretion,”

Students in the MPCC who gain an internship with Orion GMP Solutions will have the chance to work closely with the company and sit it on important discussions that will shape the cannabis industry.

“The interns have had some very unique opportunities and discussions with us about quality standards, legality, and research in cannabis,” Andrew HIlliard, research analyst for Orion GMP Solutions said. “We are having them look at different rules by country or state and have lots of good discussions like – why are these numbers different, who makes these numbers, why are they qualified to make these limits,” 

Hilliard was the last president of MPCC and NMU alumni. Hilliard proposed the volunteer opportunity to Barfoot so members of the MPCC have the chance to gain real-world experience in the field while still working towards their major.

“Cannabis is a newly legal substance for research and pharmaceutical. A lot of this stuff isn’t known yet or it’s all being written right now, so these students are very closely working with us and occasionally within orbit of this knowledge,” Hilliard said. “We work with standard writers and regulators to help improve the cannabis indsutry. Our interns are able to discuss and get this kind of perspective. I really enjoy getting to have those conversations with them,”

Hilliard has been working with Orion GMP Solutions for the past year with the last seven months working as a full-time research analyst. Before that, Hilliard was an intern learning international pharmaceutical quality standards and more analytical chemistry.

“After spending those months learning I transitioned into doing more full research design, much like what I did for the med plant program capstone project,” Hilliard said. “All that is one to one with what I do now,” 

For more information about joining the MPPC or general information about the Medicinal Plant Chemistry major, contact John Barfoot at [email protected].