Jefferson’s Lambert Center names inaugural scholar and research grant recipients.
With new two initiatives, Jefferson researchers will explore the next frontier of industrial hemp and examine the use of cannabis in patients with sickle cell disease, chronic pain, spinal cord injury and other conditions.
The Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp announced earlier this month the recipients of the inaugural Lambert Center Core Grants. The new program expands medicinal cannabis and hemp research at the University and encourages established scientists to apply their expertise to develop innovative therapies.
“Jefferson’s research works to answer basic questions of science, engineering and society and then translate and apply these discoveries in pioneering ways,” says Ruth Charbonneau, the Lambert Center associate director. “We’re building on the strength of Jefferson’s research community.
The grants align the Lambert Center’s role in studying the science and therapeutic role of medicinal cannabis and hemp with the broader mission of Jefferson. –Kimberly Binsfeld
The Core Grants fund a diverse group of Jefferson researchers to develop several observational studies in unique populations and preclinical applications, and support opportunities for fostering industrial applications of hemp, says Kimberly Binsfeld, director of research at the Lambert Center. These grants will provide the resources necessary to acquire preliminary data that will allow the successful applicant to obtain continued support from the Lambert Center and seek additional funding from foundations and state and federal agencies.
“Simply, the grants align the Lambert Center’s role in studying the science and therapeutic role of medicinal cannabis and hemp with the broader mission of Jefferson,” Binsfeld says. “We’re excited by the wide range of the studies and the potential to set the stage for further study and collaborations.”
In addition, Jefferson named the inaugural Lambert Center Research Scholar. The award provides the recipient with research experiences that broaden perspectives, facilitate interdisciplinary interactions and expand institutional research capacity.
Australian philanthropists Barry and Joy Lambert funded these grants—where the recipients received nearly $300,000 in total—and have supported other Lambert Center research endeavors.
Read more about the six projects and the research scholar below:
Testing Cannabinoids for Bacterial Killing In Vitro With or Without Antibiotics. Decreasing the bio-burden and the risk of bacterial contamination during and after surgery is crucial to prevent surgical site infections. Cannabinoids previously showed interesting properties that can be used as adjuncts in surgical practice. This group will test cannabinoids alongside or as antibacterial additives to bone cement and solutions used in joint replacement. The results of the study could translate into new tools to fight and prevent surgical site infections inside and outside of the orthopedic field.
Javad Parvizi, MD, FRCS, Director of Clinical Research at the Rothman Orthopaedic Institute, James Edwards Professor Chair of Orthopaedics at Thomas Jefferson University; and Emanuele Chisari, MD, Post-Doc Research Fellow, Orthopedic Surgery, Rothman Orthopaedic Institute
Observational Study in Cannabis and Sickle Cell Disease Patients With Chronic Pain. The study will look at the quality of life, functional status and pain scores of sickle cell disease patients who are taking opioids only, cannabis only, and opioids and cannabis.
David Axelrod, MD, Internal Medicine Specialist, Comprehensive Sickle Cell Program, Thomas Jefferson University; and Kimberly Binsfeld, MS, Director of Research, Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp, Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals
Cannabis Use in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The study will survey a group of parents of children with ASD to assess their level of knowledge and interest in cannabis use for their child and to gauge their interest in participating in future research studies.
Roseann Schaaf, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, Director, Occupational Therapy, Jefferson’s Autism Center of Excellence, Jefferson College of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faber Institute for Neurosciences, Thomas Jefferson University; and Daniel Graves, PhD, FACRM, Associate Dean of Research, Vice Chairman for Research, College of Rehabilitation Medicine, Department of Rehabilitation, Thomas Jefferson University
Analysis of Quality of Life and Physical Health in Spinal Cord Injury Patients Taking Cannabis. The study will be an in-depth investigation of the differences in measures of physical health, quality of life, community participation and cognition in self-selected groups of current cannabis users, past cannabis users and non-cannabis users.
Daniel Graves, PhD, FACRM, Associate Dean of Research, Vice Chairman for Research, College of Rehabilitation Medicine, Department of Rehabilitation, Thomas Jefferson University
Medical Marijuana in the Management of Headache Disorders. This retrospective chart review will record the demographics and clinical features of patients at a tertiary headache center enrolled in a medical cannabis clinic and look at outcomes of treatment.
Michael Marmura, MD, FAHS, Associate Professor, Director of Outpatient Operations, Jefferson Headache Center, Thomas Jefferson University; Co-Investigators: Angela Hou, MD; Neurology (Headache); Claire Ceriani, MD Neurology (Headache); and Courtney White, MD; Neurology
Jefferson’s research works to answer basic questions of science, engineering and society and then translate and apply these discoveries in pioneering ways. We’re building on the strength of Jefferson’s research community. –Ruth Charbonneau
Industrial Hemp: Manufacture and Characterization of Cellulose Nanocrystals and Cellulose Nanofibrils. Funding will support the existing PA Manufacturing Fellows Initiatives, specifically working with local Pennsylvania industries. The grant supports work with Coexist to develop a line of hemp-reinforced polymer 3D printing filaments that are biodegradable and sustainable and have superior mechanical and physical properties, as well as work with Eastern Hemp Company to develop a line of hemp-reinforced polymer composite injection molding pellets.
Ronald Kander, PhD, Associate Provost, Applied Science; Dean, Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce, Thomas Jefferson University
Lambert Center Research Scholar. Dylan Lefkowitz will support cannabis and cannabinoid receptor-related investigations. His research will provide a further understanding of how human health systems respond to cannabinoids and may identify opportunities for therapeutic applications. Lefkowitz holds an MS in biomedical sciences from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and a BS from the College of Charleston. He also earned a graduate certificate in cannabinoid pharmacology at Jefferson. Lefkowitz will work with Ajay Nayak, PhD, in Jefferson’s Center for Translational Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care.
Upcoming certificate programs on cannabis medicine and cannabis science through the Institute of Emerging Health Professions start Sept. 1.