Eleanor Kuntz, PhD and Kerin Law, PhD founded LeafWorks in August 2016 to follow their passion for utilizing genetic testing to help people, plants and the planet. Trained at the University of Georgia, a top plant research university in the United States, they came to the table with complementary expertise in plant genetics. Eleanor’s experience working with global natural products companies revealed that companies growing and selling raw plant material needed better methods for:
1) validating ingredient identity per FDA guidelines
2) avoiding adulteration
3) breeding and sourcing the best medicinal quality for plant use.
While Eleanor gained valuable market-based experience, Kerin finished her PhD in next-generation sequencing method development, creating novel ways to harness massive sequencing capabilities for affordable and meaningful genomic outputs. Together, they realized the opportunity to apply new genetic testing technologies to solve major pain-points in the herbal markets.
LeafWorks is the fusion of Eleanor’s business experience and Kerin’s technical expertise. LeafWorks’ primary focus currently is to crack the cannabis genetic code in order to offer a large portfolio of DNA-based services regarding what plants are being bought, sold, bred and grown. While LeafWorks plans to expand into all commercially important herbs, the focus is cannabis first because there are no genomic resources for cultivar development and supply chain transparency, fewer competitors providing solutions, and a massive need for plant screening services typical of other major crops that enable predictive breeding and operational efficiency.
Since its founding in 2016, LeafWorks has undertaken the groundbreaking work of amassing the largest sequencing dataset of cannabis in the world, properly building the dataset with Certified Reference Material. By working with the world’s only cannabis herbarium, Canndor, and creating a repository for Certified Reference Material, LeafWorks is providing key services that will help the cannabis and hemp communities reach their business goals with efficiency. LeafWorks has a passion for plants and helping the people who serve them, and it drives the genetic tests they build for the community.