Meet Dr. James Grinias
We just started a Ph.D. program—which is exciting—and our undergraduate and master’s students are doing a lot of cool science and illustrating that they can also push the field forward.
As an associate professor in Rowan University’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Dr. James Grinias advances both research in chromatography and the minds of future analytical chemists. “For most academic professors, it is a three-prong job,” said Dr. Grinias. “I teach courses in analytical chemistry and chemical separations, work in a chromatography-focused research group, and provide various aspects of service to the university and the broader professional community.”

Dr. Grinias enjoys the balance between all three prongs of his role but feels most passionate about the mentorship component that comes with teaching. “It is important to help push the field forward with research, but I think the bigger impact is made by mentoring the next generation of chromatographers,” said Dr. Grinias. Whether his students decide to practice in the field or move into other various graduate programs, Dr. Grinias enjoys the aspect of training young chromatographers the most.

Grateful for the college experience he enjoyed as a chromatography student, Dr. Grinias works to recreate the same opportunity for his students and is motivated by the impacts that he witnesses them make in the lab. “The lab has received several awards, and I think that is a reflection of how hard the students are working,” said Dr. Grinias.

Seeing his students succeed and hearing first-hand that the training they received in his courses had a positive impact on their futures is just one of several motivating factors for Dr. Grinias’ work. There is also a community component in the field of chromatography that offers Dr. Grinias a sense of connection. “I’ve been involved in professional organizations on a local level, as well as the national level with the American Chemical Society,” said Dr. Grinias. “I’ve enjoyed being a part of these groups because it provides opportunities for both experts in the field and new members in the scientific community to come together with a shared interest in chromatography.”
Although the separation science community is far reaching, it remains a close-knit group of professionals supporting one another. “This community is how I learned about Phenomenex,” said Dr. Grinias. “Phenomenex has specific column chemistries available that many other vendors do not have, as well as specific stationary phases that have greatly simplified our jobs.” Within these separation science communities, there is an emphasis on giving back—whether it is through advice, assistance, or vendor recommendations.
A tinkerer at heart, Dr. Grinias has always had an interest in gadgets and building things, so it comes as no surprise that he encourages his students to maintain their curiosity above all else. “Unique ways of thinking about problems are necessary, and having a fresh perspective is important,” said Dr. Grinias.
Whether through company-wide projects, charitable donations, or offering employees paid-time-off to volunteer, Phenomenex has always championed philanthropy. This resonates deeply with Kina, who dedicates significant time outside of work to helping others.

“The mission of Phenomenex is to serve and inspire the greater community,” said Kina. “I try to live that myself whether by serving the local community, or inspiring younger generations throughout the globe.”
I encourage my students to learn more about adjacent fields so that they have a broad knowledge base to pull from when trying to answer questions or determine which questions to ask.
Broadening their understanding of fields adjacent to chromatography can also open up opportunities in a variety of industries for students. “Building a career in chromatography is a great way to make a difference in the world because, as an analytical technique, chromatography is a critical aspect of so many industries,” explained Dr. Grinias. “Whether it is environmental analysis, pharmaceutical testing, or urine analysis for the Olympics, chromatography is really an unsung hero of the modern world.”