Dr. Daniela Vergara | Founder, Agricultural Genomics Foundation
Dr. Daniela Vergara is an evolutionary biologist, data analyst, educator, scientific writer, and public speaker. In addition to her multiple publications, she founded and directs a non-profit organization, the Agricultural Genomics Foundation (AGF; AgriculturalGenomics.org). AGF aims to make hemp and cannabinoid science available to a broad public. Vergara has been part of e scientific teams at private companies including Steep Hill, Inc. who are a global leader in agricultural testing, and the biotech company Front Range Biosciences.
Dr. Vergara recently joined the Harvest New York Extension Team from Cornell University as an ‘Emerging Crop Specialist’ to help hemp farmers with their crop.
Dr. Vergara’s scientific publications include the comparison of the cannabinoids by the federally produced Cannabis to that produced by the private market. These results were featured in news platforms such as The Atlantic, Science, and FiveThirtyEight. Recently, she published a comparison between the genome of these federally produced varieties to the genome of the varieties found in the private markets.
Some of her other scientific publications are a compilation of the existing genomic tools available for Cannabis research that was featured in Science, and the maternally inherited genomes (chloroplast and mitochondria). Vergara has authored these publications along with collaborators from the private sector in the Cannabis industry as well as academics from several institutions worldwide.
Through AGF, Vergara educates the public about science, data analysis, statistics, evolutionary biology, and genomics.
Vergara is also an international consultant and policy advisor and has advised companies in the US and Latin America. Additionally, she has worked as an expert witness for multiple legal cases in the US and abroad.
Dr. Vergara is a scientific writer in both Spanish and English and has translated her scientific work in Spanish for a broad public in Hispanic Countries.
Most of Vergara’s research has been funded by private individuals who believe in her cause with donations to AGF that holds a 501(C)3 status.
To get updates on her research, contact Dr. Vergara on Linkedin or follow her on Instagram or twitter @CannaGenomics.
When building the cannabis industry from the ground up, why is gender parity (having at least 50% women) so important?
For me for several reasons: 1.) Populations of sexual organisms are usually 50% female, 50% male. This is mostly true for the human species as well (there are more men than women but it could be due to Indians and Chinese -the two most numerous cultures- killing their women). Why then would it be OK to have gender disparity when it comes to knowledge/industry/wealth? 2.) There is wide evidence suggesting that a balanced industry where women are leaders and make an important part of the industry does better. For example, companies where there is a balanced gender parity do better than those dominated by men. 3.) It is time!! The time came where we can finally say WE ARE FED UP!!! Plus, this is a plant, a natural occurring organism that gives us things such as food and medicine and it is great that as women we can make sure that we are improving the well-being of our population.
What social justice and/or criminal justice reforms do you want the US to make around its drug policy, particularly around cannabis?
Please stop the mass incarceration particularly targeted towards the black community.
Why are environmentally sustainable business practices essential to the future of the cannabis industry?
I disagree with this question. Environmental sustainable business practices are not essential to the cannabis industry, they are essential to all industries, to the future of the human population and to the future of almost all organisms that inhabit this planet. We are (to my knowledge) the only species that has changed the environment of an entire planet and that has caused the mass extinction of thousands of species. If we do not start with sustainable business practices, sustainable household practices and in general environmentally friendly practices everywhere we are definitely doomed.
How do you incorporate gender parity, social justice, and environmental sustainability into your work and the growth of your business/organization?
I make sure that the students that I mentor are both female and male and I try for them to have projects together and work together.