PDF - Cannabis and small molecules method development and validation using LC-MS/MS, GC-MS/MS, GCMS, HPLC and ICPMS - QC-179

Preferred Disciplines: Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry (Post-Doc)
Project length: 12-18 months (3 units)
Approx. start date: February 2019
Location: Montreal, QC
No. of Positions: 2
Preferences: None
Company: Pharmascience

About Company:

Founded in 1983, Pharmascience Inc. is the largest pharmaceutical employer in Quebec with over 1,500 employees proudly headquartered in Montreal. Pharmascience Inc. is a full-service privately owned pharmaceutical company with strong roots in Canada and a growing global reach with product distribution in over 60 countries. Ranked 51st among Canada’s top 100 Research & Development (R&D) investors with over $49 million invested in 2016, Pharmascience Inc. is the 6th largest pharmaceutical company in Canada and the 3rd largest manufacturer of over-the-counter generic drugs in the country.

Summary of Project:

Pharmascience is extending funding for projects with two post-doctoral researchers at their Royalmount Laboratories. The primary objective of the research will be to help find ways of developing reliable LC-MS/MS, GC-MS/MS, GCMS, HPLC and ICPMS, including extraction, chromatographic and mass spectrometric procedures for extremely challenging and complex methods. The Post-Doctoral researcher should help identify methods that seamlessly transfer to our method validation team taking in account the complexity of the cannabis plant for which up to one-third of the overall mass of the cannabis seed, half of the usable flower, and nearly all of the extracts can be contributed to essential oils such as terpenes, flavonoids, and actual cannabinoid content. The biggest challenge, at least for the pesticides testing is that the limits of detection (LOD) and the limits of quantitation (LOQ) that need to be demonstrated are in the parts-per-billion (ppb) range. Such low LOD’s can be extremely difficult even for our laboratory that is equipped with extremely sensitive and robust instrumentation, hence the need to develop a highly selective method that must account for the biodiversity of the cannabis plant that is exhibited in the more than 2000 unique strains that have been identified, each with its own pigmentation, cannabinoid profile, and overall suggested medicinal use (W. Ross, Newsweek (2016)).

Research Objectives/Sub-Objectives:

  • Develop reliable LC-MS/MS, GC-MS/MS, GCMS, HPLC and ICPMS, including extraction, chromatographic and mass spectrometric procedures for extremely challenging and complex methods.
  • Method development for sample processing and cleanup prior to analysis of cannabis samples
  • Analysis of cannabis products for pesticides, mycotoxins, cannabinoids, terpenes, residual solvents, heavy metals, microbial contaminants, and moisture.
  • Contribute to continuous improvement of the method development processes to ensure successful method hand-off and validation.
  • Function as scientific resource, including training, assisting in troubleshooting, and participating in the laboratory and the company’s scientific initiatives.
  • Utilize laboratory equipment including micropipettes, automated extraction instrumentation, centrifuges, glassware, notebooks, etc.
  • Develop awareness of new technologies and participate in evaluation processes.


  • To be discussed

Expertise and Skills Needed:

Researchers should have knowledge of LC-MS/MS; GC-MS/MS or ICP-MS method development to help the cannabis and small molecules method development team. As part of the research work, state of the art ABSciex and Shimadzu analytical and bioanalytical instrumentation will be used in a leading laboratory serving a variety of clients globally (Pharma, Biotech and Cannabis Licensed Producers). Also:

  • Advanced knowledge of chemistry involved in analytical and bioanalytical method development procedures.
  • Ability to analyze method development data and make sound conclusions.
  • Excellent attention to detail and communication skills.
  • Ability to follow written and oral scientific directions, including Standard Operating Procedures.
  • Ability to multitask and maintain an organized work area.
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with coworkers, managers and clients.

For more info or to apply to this applied research position, please

  1. Check your eligibility and find more information about open projects.
  2. Interested students need to get the approval from their supervisor and send their CV along with a link to their supervisor’s university webpage by applying through the webform.