Speechless in Seattle

This month Illumitex participated at the 2016 CannaCon, located in Seattle, Washington. During the event, I gave a seminar to a packed room of cultivators and practitioners – the response could not have been more enthusiastic. I’m an engineer-turned-biologist, and as such, some might say I’m a little “geeky.” I mean, just look at the title of my CannaCon talk: “Harnessing Light: A Plant’s Perspective.”

When I arrived to the stage to begin my seminar you can imagine how surprised and pleased I was to see a room full of eager, curious faces, all wanting to understand the biological relationship between plants and light…let’s just say I jumped an orbital or two.

The talk began with an introduction of Illumitex and how my position as the Director of R&D feels like a dream job (no kidding). Then I dove right into science.

The talk consisted of three parts:

  1. Photosynthesis
  2. Photomorphogenesis
  3. Useful calculations

Image from Part I of Dr. Knight’s speech


Image from Part II of Dr. Knight’s speech


Image from Part III of Dr. Knight’s speech


Since these topics are quite dense, I took a break between each topic to allow the audience members a chance to ask questions. I also made sure to give background information and make it fun when appropriate.  For example, I briefly went through the evolutionary history of cyanobacteria and the chloroplast, described the essence of a photon, and compared the electron transport chain as a friction-generating “electric slide.”

One of my goals since joining Illumitex has been to develop models and share calculations allowing growers to make informed decisions when comparing different lighting options for both indoor and greenhouse applications.  For the last portion of the talk, I had time to cover a couple equations: calculations of photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) with known daily light integral (DLI) and light use efficiency (LUE).

“Having Rebecca describe the scientific aspect gives a lot of credibility to Illumitex. She went into detail as to why certain conditions lead to a better yield…for me, at least 50% of why I go with a brand is because I trust the people and with her background I was definitely impressed. You don’t find too many people in this industry with her engineering and biology background.” -Westley Nakamoto, Quantum Industries

After the hour-long seminar I was exhausted, but the conversation with audience members had just gotten started.  The next day and a half was spent answering scientific questions and explaining horticulture lighting at the booth and throughout the CannaCon showroom.

My goal at CannaCon was to bring a scientific element into the cannabis community. Talking to the CannaCon audience was amazing but thanks to the Illumitex film crew, my presentation will soon be available as videos on our website. Stay tuned – the “geekiness” has just gotten started.