Emma has a BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry and a PhD in Molecular Microbiology. She started her independent career in Calgary in 2005, studying the normal microbes of the human gut, at that time an emerging area of interest, and focusing on trying to culture these so-called ‘unculturable’ microbes in order to better understand their biology. To do this, she developed a model gut system (dubbed ‘Robogut’) to emulate the conditions of the human gut and allow communities of microbes to grow together, as they do naturally.
Emma moved her lab and this system to the University of Guelph in late 2007, and has been a recent recipient of the John Evans Leader’s Fund (through the Canadian Foundation for Innovation) that has allowed her to develop her specialist anaerobic fermentation laboratory further.
She currently runs an academic lab with projects that are broad in nature, but united under the banner of human microbiome research, including studies of Clostridioides difficile infection, diabetes, colorectal cancer, and neonatal necrotizing enterocolitis.
As well as her academic lab, in 2013, Emma co-founded NuBiyota, a research spin-off company that aims to create therapeutic ecosystems as biologic drugs, on a commercial scale. The research enterprise for this company is also based in Guelph.