Faculty Feature: Mike Jenkins, Ph.D. 

Oct 26, 2021 | Blog, News

Mike Jenkins, Ph.D.

As Vice-Chair of Oaksterdam University’s Horticulture Department, Mike Jenkins, Ph.D. marries his passion for optimized cannabis cultivation production with his remarkable background in plant physiology and ecology. Mike brings rigorous scientific methods to all his curriculum development at OU, and is regarded by students and his faculty peers alike for his engaging and upbeat teaching style. Here, Mike shares a bit about his background, areas of expertise, and what brought him to OU.

What do you teach at Oaksterdam?

I teach any and all horticultural topics. I’m vice-chair of the horticulture department and my typical schedule includes teaching Intro to Cannabis Horticulture, Optimal Conditions, and Anatomy and Physiology. I am deeply involved in OU.

What do you do outside of OU?

I run a research and consulting business, Rubisco Research and Consulting out of Sacramento. I help cannabis companies be successful. I travel a lot, doing work in multiple countries and all over the U.S. — advising, consulting, designing, building out, recruiting, training employees. I do it all. 

Where did you go to school? 

I started my academic career in plant biology at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. I’ve been studying plants my whole life. I finished my undergraduate degree in plant biology at California State University, Chico, and did a Master’s Degree at Chico State in plant physiology. I got to go and study plants around a volcano in Costa Rica and did my Ph.D. at the University of California, Santa Cruz. I go my Ph.D. in environmental studies with an emphasis on plant ecological physiology. 

How did you get involved in the cannabis industry?

I went to Oaksterdam during my Ph.D. and took a semester of classes. I was recruited by a company in Colorado to be their chief scientific officer, where I got to conduct experiments on cannabis. I was in charge of their production and cannabis. 

What did you do your research on during your Ph.D.?

My research is focused on climate change, data collection, and experiments. My research was through Los Alamos National Laboratory, the SuMo Survival-Mortality Project. We modeled climate change on a forest and set up experimental structures to match what the models were suggesting, to see what the forests would be like in the future. We studied droughted trees and heated trees and experimented on how they would physiologically respond. 

What did you come to specialize in?

Basically, I became an expert on plant stress. Now, in the cannabis space, I focus on maximum genetic potential and optimal growth conditions. I also do a lot of work on designing state-of-the-art cannabis facilities. 

What do you love about Oaksterdam and the cannabis space?

I enjoy working with students at Oaksterdam. I appreciate challenging questions. I really enjoy being part of the development of individuals’ cannabis knowledge. 

The fun and dynamic part of what I do is testing, researching, and implementing new and advanced cultivation methodologies, techniques, and infrastructure. Prohibition made it so that most plant scientists weren’t allowed to conduct research on cannabis. The future is wide open for a wide range of possibilities. 

Oaksterdam University’s Horticulture Program has undergone a complete revamp for Fall, 2021, in line with the latest in technology and techniques. We offer virtual courses live and self-paced. Our January, 2022 Live Semester is enrolling now, and our asynchronous program is open year-round. Learn more here