Emily completed her undergraduate degree in organic chemistry at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, and her PhD in bio-organic chemistry at the University of Cambridge with Chris Abell.  Following a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Cambridge, she returned to New Zealand to Massey University initially, and moved to the University of Canterbury in 2006. In 2017 she moved to Victoria University of Wellington to take up a position as Professor of Chemical Biology within the Ferrier Research Institute.

In 2005 she was awarded the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry Easterfield medal. In 2006 She was awarded the Applied Biosystems Award by the New Zealand Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2008, and in 2010 Emily received a National Teaching Award for Sustained Excellence in Tertiary Teaching.  She is a Deputy Director of the Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery.

Emily’s research area spans the areas of chemistry and biology and involves a range of research techniques including natural product biosynthesis, protein evolution and engineering, and molecular and structural biology.  More recently her research group has focused on exploring molecular communication processes and using synthetic biology approaches to biosynthesise and manufacture and bioactive compounds.