After returning from the U.K. (where Emma had worked as a pharmacist as well as a Professional Practice Fellow at the University of Kingston) she continued to explore her interest in research. This led her to a PhD in the departments of Pharmacy and Women’s and Children’s Health.
Her PhD project, titled “Factors affecting glucose homeostasis in premature neonates” was centred on investigating the different factors affecting glucose concentrations in premature babies with a focus on high blood glucose.
The purpose of her research was to better understand the maturation of glucose in premature neonates and more specifically hyperglycaemic premature neonate. Her research found that premature neonates exhibit insulin resistance irrespective of hyperglycaemia. Also, hyperglycaemic babies had lower insulin production which was not supressed by insulin treatment. These findings are likely to contribute to the increased risk of hyperglycaemia in premature neonates. Her findings improve the understanding of glucose balance in premature neonates and hyperglycaemia.
Emma had two children while completing her PhD and graduated while pregnant with the third. While her main focus is her family and her children she continues to publish her research and is hoping to explore employment at the University of Otago in the future.