BioBuzz by Workforce Genetics

5 Questions with Michael Doub, Laboratory Director at Eastern Analytical Labs

“5 Questions With…” is a recurring BioBuzz series where we reach out to interesting people to share a little about themselves, their work, and maybe something completely unrelated. This week we welcome Michael Doub, Laboratory Director at Eastern Analytical Labs, a third-party medical cannabis testing lab located in Middletown, Maryland that recently opened for business.

Michael Doub has enjoyed a diverse professional path working in both the life sciences and manufacturing. Before coming to Eastern Analytical Labs, Michael co-founded Aireon Therapeutics Inc. where he served as CEO.  Michael has a successful record of building operational systems and high performing teams that drive organizational growth from concept to commercialization.  He has received a BA in Biology from Hood College, an MBA from University of Maryland and Operational Efficiency Certifications from Villanova University.

1) Please introduce yourself to our audience by looking back at your education, training, and career.

I’m currently the Laboratory Director at Eastern Analytical Labs located in Middletown, Maryland.  Eastern Analytical Labs is a Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission licensed analytical cannabis lab.  I have not taken a normal career path to my current role as Laboratory Director at Eastern.  I earned my BS in Biology from Hood College in Frederick and my MBA from the University of Maryland.  Initially, I was working in Quality Assurance and Quality Control for a biotech company in Gaithersburg in the early 2000’s.  From biotech, I transitioned to a role with a large multinational global company where I learned about operations.  At this large company I was able to earn my MBA, learn about operational excellence, and experience a world-class manufacturing environment. 

In 2017 I was fortunate to meet John Holaday, Ph.D. and together with a third partner we co-founded Aireon Therapeutics in Rockville, MD.  Working with John, I could utilize my background and learn how to build a scientific-based company.  I learned how John felt about building high-performing teams, a lot about intellectual property, and the basics of running a science-based company.  After John’s passing, I was asked to join the Eastern Analytical Labs team.

2) At a recent BioBuzz event you mentioned Eastern Analytical labs was just recently certified as one of Maryland’s newest cannabis test labs. Can you describe what that means to you and your work?

First, I’m very proud of our team for earning certification as an ISO 17025 accredited lab and then being licensed to perform testing by the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC.)  The process was not easy, but now that we are operational it feels worth it.  The lab space was built out before I joined the team – the lab instruments were purchased from Shimadzu and everything else was sourced from Doug at BaneBio in Frederick.  The overview of the process was to develop methods for each test required by the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission Technical Authority.  Once the methods are developed, then they are verified (aka validated) to ensure they perform with both accuracy and precision while being repeatable. 

RELATED: New Medical Cannabis Testing Lab for Growers & Processors Now Open

Once the methods are complete and verified, the audits begin.  Eastern Analytical Labs has a complete regulatory system that was audited by A2LA in Frederick, MD.  After the regulatory system is approved, the science is audited to ensure the operators are proficient and the methods are performed properly.  Once accredited, the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission audits took place.  Once we had satisfied both A2LA and the MMCC we went before the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission to be approved.

3) You have a small crew over at Eastern Analytical Labs. What are some of the pros and cons of working with a small team?

Working with a small team does prove to offer both pros and cons.  The obvious pro is that our team is a very tight group and we all truly care about our collective and individual success, whatever that success looks like for each person.  Together we have overcome many obstacles, and working together in a small team means we have created a strong bond by overcoming the many challenges we all faced as a collective and as individuals. 

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The major con is double-edged.  We don’t have the luxury or crutch of throwing manpower at problems.  We are at times creative and other times strategic with how we do deploy manpower in the lab to accomplish our work.  The hidden pro in our small team is that everyone is getting to cross-trained and growing as scientists every day.   

4) As a Lab Director, what are some words of advice you can give to younger professionals who aim to do something similar in their life?

If anyone aims to be a Lab Director or really excel in any area of their career, I think the most important trait is to embrace and be consistent with lifelong learning.  There is no true destination in personal learning or personal development.  You will always have a new skill to learn, a new technique to learn, or just a new perspective to an old problem. 

In addition to learning, a few personal traits will help you as a laboratory director or in any role someone wishes to grow into.  First, being persistent is a major personal attribute to accomplishing any goal or career you choose to undertake.  “Persistence” means taking the idea of quitting off the table.  If you promise yourself to persist and persevere through whatever you face without quitting, chances are you’ll figure out how to succeed along the way. 

My last advice is to embrace struggle.  If you look at history, most great achievements came from overcoming struggles to get to a breakthrough.  When you commit to lifelong learning, persistance, and embracing the struggle along the way you get the gift of true fulfillment when you get to your goal. 

5) If you had to build a team of three celebrities to help you survive during a zombie apocalypse who would they be and why?

I admit this is a good question that made me think because I’ve never considered this scenario.   First, I’m going to go with Joe Rogan.  From what I know Joe Rogan is a lifelong practitioner of martial arts and an avid bow hunter.  I think his comfort with confrontation and skill with the bow would serve us well.  Plus, a little well-timed humor in a terrible situation is never a bad thing to have around. 

Next, I think the obvious choice here is Elon Musk.  Elon is the man who can generate a crazy plan but then see it through to operational success.  I don’t really know what it takes to survive the zombie apocalypse, but I think survival probability goes up with Elon on the team. 

Last, I’m going to pick former Navy Seal and current author and consultant Jocko Willink.  I choose Jocko for his obvious merit as a former Navy Seal, but I also love his two books Extreme Ownership and The Dichotomy of Leadership.  During a zombie apocalypse we’re going to be put into situations that require an expert in leadership who has real world knowledge of how to deploy the skills.