NJ DISCOVER SPOTLIGHT ARTICLE: Meet GAETANO LARDIERI, Transhumanist, Spiritual, Techno-progressive political activist, Medical Field, Epidemiology Study, Cancer Clinical Trials, Patent Holder, Cannabis Activist/Entrepreneur, THCBD Project (Cutting edge, state-of-the-art, future of Cannabis Research) SpaceVitae (Anti-Aging, Anti-Radiation, Immunity) and all from Newark, NJ and a Most Dynamic Personality by Calvin Schwartz October 11, 2020
EDITORS NOTE: 2 things. Today, October 11th 2020 is my NINTH (9th) ANNIVERSARY AT NJ DISCOVER. Therefore, this article poignant and meaningful. Second. The pictures associated with this article showing Gaetano Lardieri with a broad diverse spectrum of people, demonstrative of his depth, breadth, accomplishments and all-around good guy.
Remember my modus operandi; part of my articles usually describes the evolution chemistry, happenstance, synchronicity and elemental universal particulates which brings people into my focus. Often these pandemic days, confined to the constrained perimeter of my house, I meet people at my favorite hangout, LinkedIn. A few months ago, there was Gaetano Lardieri, a new LinkedIn connection; his identifying characteristic for me was his alma mater, Rutgers University and a hometown of Newark. We messaged a few times which led to a phone call. I did my research and Googling and concluded there was so much to Gaetano; for sure an interview for njdiscover.com.
Messaging evolved into Zooming and hours of seeing each other’s images on screen and sharing life’s journey. The necessity of a preliminary article self-evident. Even an appearance by Gaetano on the launching of “Conversations with Calvin; WE the SpecIES” on You Tube. Doing this interview, a curious conundrum surfaced. There is so much biographical information out there about Gaetano.
A resolution right here in this third paragraph. I’ll briefly touch on those essences of Gaetano to instill mood and interest; a form of literary captivity. He has been in the medical field since 1978 and worked on a genetic epidemiology study as a research assistant. He joked with me that this type of work was not in his original life’s plan but “I got very good, accomplished in helping put these studies together…. Interviewing, tracing family history and collecting tumor samples and collecting medical data for around 3500 individuals many of which I had screened and entered into the study.” You might have one plan, path, direction and life leads you down another.
In 1994, he became a Site Coordinator for a major New Jersey teaching medical cancer center. His evolution continued as he entered the pharmaceutical industry in 1997, starting out as a Data Manager eventually leading to become a Certified Project Manager conducting global clinical cancer trials. To his credit, one of the trials he was a project Manager for, with a Japanese pharmaceutical company, led to FDA-approval of a drug for breast cancer. For me, a former pharmacist, I was quite impressed.
The evolving of Gaetano Lardieri continued in 2015 (modern times) when he entered into the cannabis world as an advocate for social justice, and research. He was the visionary and Founder of THCBD LLC; A Bio-Tech startup based in Newark which is an incubator for cannabis advocacy, research and mentorship. HERE is the website link: https://thcbdproject.com/
THCBD LLC is a bio-tech start-up research company specializing in nano-technology and synthetic-biology. The lead project (NAN108) is a novel proprietary platform and process to synthesize cannabinoids in the lab. Eventually this proprietary process can be used to produce cannabis medicines and products. Cannabis has been going through a revolution of discovery and awareness of its so many potential possibilities for health benefits. I showed Gaetano, my 1 oz bottle of Hemp Oil. A smile and head movement up and down signaled approval. We continued to bond. The other start-up to mention here is SpaceVitae. https://spacevitae.com/about
Beyond fascinating for me how this company is dedicated to protecting people (using all-natural products) right here on earth from the dangers of the Sun’s Ultra-Violet ~(UV)~ radiation. The primary test and focus to protect astronauts at a cellular level heading into deep space. My thinking here, expressed to Gaetano, is I’ve pressed those curiosity buttons of readers, depositing websites to explore part of the wonderful world of Gaetano Lardieri. And he started all of this after the age of 55. It’s never too late folks to have a second, third, fourth or fifth career! I’m personally testament to that. Four careers after 65.
Next, I wanted to explore our Newark, New Jersey commonality of birth. “Let’s talk Newark, Gaetano.” A huge smile. “My paternal grandfather- (the original Gaetano for whom I am named after)-emigrated, by boat, in the steerage section, from Teora, Italy. He settled in Newark in 1905. He worked hard, mostly as a barber, saved his pennies and several years later sent for his wife Rosina. Their seven children were all born and raised in Newark.”
I yelled, “Wow, my maternal grandfather settled in Newark in 1902, from Russia. Maybe they lived near each other?” He further pointed out the Jews and Italians were cohorts of sorts as large numbers of each group emigrated to America from the 1890’s to the early 1920’s and shared a similar history. He continued proudly.
“All my first cousins were born, raised and lived in Newark in the area known as The First Ward. This was in the neighborhood of St. Lucy’s Church which is the National Shrine of Saint Gerard. Known for the Saint Gerard Majella Tully celebration or procession. Or the more Americanized version known for a parade where the Italians pin money on the statue of Saint Gerard. Gerard, by the way, is my middle name. My immediate family lived in the North Ward. My grandfather purchased a piece of property in the North Ward on 3rd Ave in the 1930’s. This plot of land was used for many years to grow food for the entire family. In 1954 he gave the land to my dad James (known to many of the neighborhood kids as big Jim or to lots of Italian relatives as Vincenzo). My dad built a two-family brick-faced home on this double sized city lot. Many generations enjoyed good times, pool parties and barbecues there for 50 years! My sister-(Debra Nilio)-lived on the second floor and started her family and had three children (Michael Jr., Vincent, Gianna)…. Our thing was our togetherness as a family unit… Very Italian.”
Gaetano went to Essex Catholic High School in Newark. He was always reminded by his family and, to this day, he will always emphasize, family first. My Pharmacy fraternity house store front was right across the street in the late 60’s. “Some more commonality.”
“I went to St. Peter’s College for Pre-Med, eventually Rutgers-Newark at night, and changing over to major in Philosophy. This offered me the opportunity to build my own curriculum before it was a thing to do that. This major allowed me to earn 30 minor credits in Psychology and Social-Work which were two other fields I loved and wanted to study more. Working full-time and attending classes at night, after several breaks over time due to life in general, finally, in Oct. 1994, without any fanfare and/or celebration, I walked into the registrar’s office and picked up my degree.”
From 1978 on, he was on a journey from working in the medical field, living in Newark, being educated in Newark and growing up in the Newark of the 1960’s and 1970’s accumulating lots of street savvy along the way as well. Lots of very interesting side-bar stories about the streets-of-Newark for another day. Life lesson – one can learn a lot from the streets as well. What I was formulating in my mind listening to Gaetano was depth, inquisitiveness, passion to learn and grow.
In 1992 he accepted a position as a Research Assistant in which he was helping to run an oncology-genetics study interviewing, collecting, and collating data for over 3500 individuals for a study that was looking at the genetics of the p53 gene in Ashkenazi Jews. One of the main aspects of this position was to interview and intake a patient’s full medical history and collect epidemiological data and pathology from patients entering the GI Lab for colonoscopies. Due to very successful and various data collection techniques he designed and implemented for the study, he was invited by study principal investigators to write up his methodologies and was a co-author on several significant scientific papers that were published in prestigious medical journals.
“Never, in my wildest dreams, especially without an MD or PhD degree, would I have thought I would have my name, same as my paternal grandfather who had barely a grammar school education, on research papers next to prominent internationally known geneticists, epidemiologists and researchers. Life lesson – always do your best work and good people will recognize and reward you.”
“In 1995, there was a new cancer center that opened at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston – now widely known as RWJ Barnabas. It was just good old St. B’s Hospital when I started out there in 1982. At the time a very good hospital known for many specialties especially its famous burn center which I worked in many times as a Unit Clerk. It has turned into one of the most magnificent leading medical systems today in New Jersey. I was also the first Site- Coordinator in the new Cancer-Center and worked with a team of very talented oncology doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social-workers etc. As a Site -Coordinator one of my primary duties was to identify patients for cancer clinical trials. I would then interview them, explain the requirements of the trial to them, track their progress and collect/collate data for the sponsoring drug and/or pharmaceutical company”
We both came up for Zoom background air. Gaetano continued. “These data would be used in helping the sponsor determine the safety/efficacy etc. of the trial drug being administered for the patient’s particular cancer type.”
Knowing I was a pharmacist, Gaetano made a point to mention how the pharmaceutical reps. looked in their very tailored designer clothes. “I changed my position in the medical field several times which is a bit unusual.” “And so, did I Gaetano. This journalism; my fifth career.”
Gaetano took, what he considered a major leap of faith out of the very familiar comfortable setting of working in the hospital since 1978 and landed his first pharmaceutical consulting gig in 1997. “The information, knowledge I collected on the job was invaluable. Never discount experience! “
In 1997 he worked as an in-house CRA (Clinical Research Associate) on a leukemia study at the famous Schering-Plough science labs in Kenilworth. “Oncology was on fire so I was a hot commodity… The demand for people with oncology experience was in extremely high demand for years. I had finally been able to capitalize on all those years and work and training of sorts in the medical field and in particular the oncology space. I had the luxury and luck of landing consulting jobs at most of the top-tier pharma companies in New York and New Jersey as either a consultant and or permanent employee. I even worked at several companies twice. And since the oncology background was so in demand at times in different roles as well. I held positions in Data Management or Clinical research. I was not the most skilled in computers and I was upfront with the recruiters about it. Their response was don’t worry about it; we can always get someone to sit down with you and teach you the computer system however we can’t have someone sit down with you and teach you all the Oncology experience you bring to the table. Experience was paramount and gave me a whole career I would never have thought of. Get that experience folks!”
“In my most prominent position later in my pharma. career I was a Clinical Trial Project Manager running Global Oncology Clinical Trials. In the mid 2000’s the pharma world was going through lots of change, paradigm shifts, mergers and acquisitions. Lots of colleagues, myself included, were getting caught up in those changes.”
So, it was in 2015, Gaetano saw that the Cannabis space was getting hot and heavy in New Jersey. “I remembered from my hospital experience days that quite a few patients had told me how cannabis significantly helped them with pain, anxiety and a myriad of side-effects like nausea/vomiting etc. Listening and absorbing real-life information is paramount as you never know when it will come in handy.”
Gaetano decided that he would take a deeper-dive and give it 1 year to see what was going on in the Cannabis space in new Jersey. He exclaimed, “Well, 1 year turned into 5!”
He started to attend many cannabis events from Philly to NYC. He was on cannabis panels, wrote a few articles related to cannabis research. In 2019 he was named as one of the most influential voices in New Jersey in the Cannabis space. The first few years, he didn’t really know what to do, “so it was time to hang out with interesting people, like accountants and lawyers.” He spent a few days in Philadelphia and Jersey City at two separate cannabis events and met physicians, PhD’s, clinical trial experts like himself who actually ran cannabis clinical trials. He said, “I met people from all over the world, I finally met my Cannabis rockstars in 2018.”
Gaetano was focusing on how to make more of a positive impact towards cannabis advocacy and research. That is when he decided to become laser focused on the business part of the cannabusiness space. He founded THCBD LLC and later Spae~Vitae. Along with his advocacy the two Bio-tech start-ups specialize in nano-technology/synthetic-biology and space-science. This interview is the by-product of countless hours of Zooming. We loved our time bonding, and planned a separate interview on You Tube, “Conversations with Calvin; WE the SpecIEs.”
One Zoom session we both drifted all over. Gaetano mentioned his weighing over 420 pounds. And losing 230lbs. Somehow, we started talking about synthetic biology. He explained some of the intricacies around the programming and reprogramming of yeast/bacteria/algae to solve many of the issues to feed and house the almost 10-billion humans that will inhabit our great planet Earth by 2050.
How we will, one day, be able to program these lifeforms that are under us, all around us and in us to produce much needed medicines, foods, chemicals, products etc. “Synthetic biology is the engineering, re-engineering and programming of biology by utilizing the cellular structures of fungus, bacteria, algae and perhaps with a little help from their friends of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and nanotechnology.”
“Bio-designers are making shelters, food containers, clothing, furniture and a whole host of things we need and use daily out of mushrooms and other biodegradable materials.”
I dropped another, “Oh wow. I interviewed Bridgett Artise the other day. She is co-founder of Sustainable Fashion Week. https://www.sustainablefashionweek.us/ Part of what you just said!”
“The SynBio economy has been forecast by McKinsey to be a $4Trillion (yes with a “T’), economy. And one day soon the genius of Synbio in combination with nano-particles and yeast will produce cannabinoids which in turn can and will be used to produce cannabis products and medicine. I believe to treat, and yes the “C’” word, cure some of our worse diseases and chronic debilitating conditions. This, hopefully, will decrease suffering for all life-forms and in tur n raise our collective human vibration. Imagine what the world would look like when all of us are collectively vibrating at a much higher frequency?”
Gaetano more or less defines himself as a transhumanist; transforming the human condition by developing sophisticated technologies to enhance human intellect and body workings. Seriously, GOOGLE it. Very interesting stuff. My head was spinning. Kept thinking what a brave new world. Gaetano was so eclectic and he lives in and contributes lots of who he is due to the fact that he was born raised and lives in the great brick-city of Newark. There is much more depth to all of this. I raised my voice, “Hey, we have to stop or this article becomes a book.”
This was a good place to end the interview. A few minutes of saying goodbye on Zoom led to both our light bulbs going incandescent. And the “Weed the People” “New Jersey Cannabis Symposium-Why Vote (YES) on
the Ballot Initiative on November 3rd 2020” was born. (to be released on September 30th on “Conversations with Calvin; WE the SpecIEs” )
I do marvel at Gaetano Lardieri and LinkedIn which brought us together. And the
GAETANO LARDIERI; LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/glardierimpm
- GAETANO LARDIERI is featured on Conversations with Calvin: WE the SpecIES A new YouTube channel. The interview link: