Isaac Emery

Issac Emery Profile Picture
Ecological Sciences & Engineering

Mentor / Lab:
Nathan Mosier, LORRE (Laboratory of Renewable Resource Engineering)

Specific Research Area / Project:
Expanded Life Cycle Assessments of Bioenergy Crops

Undergraduate Institution:
Whitman College

Research Profile:

I work to understand the complexities of biofuel production by studying how producing and storing feedstocks affects fuel production and the environment. Despite the international biofuel research frenzy, very little is known about how differences between feedstock crops might affect their storage, or about what the environmental impacts of such feedstock storage might be. My work focuses on measuring the nutrients and greenhouse gasses lost from sweet sorghum and switchgrass under a variety of storage conditions, and on modeling how those changes affect the whole biofuel production process. "By bringing together Purdue's experts in water quality, crop nutrient dynamics, biofuel production, and life cycle assessment, we can really explore the systems and landscape impacts of feedstock storage and bioenergy."

I am also developing a tool that will assist farmers and biofuel producers in making informed decisions about how to best harvest, store, and process biomass crops, and hope that my results will help to minimize the impacts of bioenergy on climate change and water quality. Furthermore, I have been invited to work with the developers of GREET, a model of fuel production used by the EPA to enforce emissions regulations.

About Me:

Issac Emery About Me Picture

I came to Purdue looking for a change. With a background in biochemistry and medical biology, I decided to transition into minimizing the negative impacts human activities have on the environment. Although I did not at first intend to study life cycle assessment - the sum of all environmental impacts over a product or technology's creation, use, and disposal or recycling - it has proved to be just the right tool for comparing industrial systems, and continues to fascinate me, even after several year's work. The Ecological Sciences and Engineering (ESE) program is an excellent place to explore the 'solution space' for environmental issues. We have worked together to submit papers, planned an annual symposium, and collaborated on research projects.

Beyond my work at Purdue, I am also working on a team to create 'Heroes in Green,' a web game in which participants will work together to reduce their individual and group environmental impact. The site tracks greenhouse gasses, water use, including ‘virtual water’ used in agriculture or manufacturing, and landfill space. Participants will go on real-world missions to improve their energy and water-use efficiency, and record their actions online. The site will track their progress and achievements individually and as it contributes to any team or site-wide goals. We know that there are a lot of people out there who want to improve their relationship with the environment, but don’t as yet know how. "Heroes in Green" will facilitate those good behaviors, suggesting actions and providing accurate and well-supported information to enable participants to make their own educated decisions.


  • Certificate of Excellence, IGP Reception Student Poster Competition, 2011.
  • Five Students who are Making Global Impact, Purdue University, 2010.
  • 2nd Place 'Best Student Poster', Frontiers in Bioenergy Symposium, Purdue University, 2010.
  • Honorable Mention, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program, 2009.
  • 2nd Place 'Best Student Poster', 3rd Annual Ecological Sciences and Engineering Symposium, Purdue University, 2009.
  • Lynn Fellowship Recipient, Purdue University, 2008.


  • Isaac Emery and Nathan Mosier. The impact of dry matter loss during herbaceous biomass storage on net greenhouse gas emissions from biofuels production. Biomass and Bioenergy, Accepted.
  • Farris S, Hu J H, Krishnan R, Emery I, Chu T, Du L, Kremen M, Dichek H L, Gold E, Ramsey S, Dichek D A. Mechanisms of urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA)-mediated atherosclerosis: Role of the uPA receptor and S100A8/A9 proteins. J Biol Chem. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Krishnan R, Kremen M, Hu J H, Emery I, Farris S D, Slezicki K I, Chu T, Du L, Dichek H L, Dichek D A. Level of Macrophage uPA Expression Is an Important Determinant of Atherosclerotic Lesion Growth in Apoe -/- Mice. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 29, 2009.
  • Kremen M, Ranjini K, Emery I, Hu J, Slezicki K, Wu A, Qian K, Du L, Plawman A, Stempien-Otero A, Dichek D. Plasminogen mediates the atherogenic effects of macrophage-expressed urokinase and accelerates atherosclerosis in apoE-null mice. PNAS, 105(44), 2008.
  • Kelliher FM, Sedcole JR, Emery I, Condron LM. Grassland soil microbial respiration responses to urea and litter applications. New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research, 50, 2007.


  • Isaac Emery and Nathan Mosier. Sorghum and Switchgrass storage systems' impact on net greenhouse gas emissions from cellulosic ethanol production. 33rd Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals, Seattle WA, May 2-5, 2011.
  • Isaac Emery and Nathan Mosier. The Impact of Dry Matter Loss during Biomass Storage on Net Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Biofuels Production. Frontiers in Bioenergy Symposium, Purdue University, April 25, 2010.
  • Emery I, Park J, Sajeev E M, Mosier N. The Influence of Dry Matter Loss during Biomass Storage on Net Greenhouse Gas Emissions during Ethanol Production from Corn Stover. 32nd Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals, Clearwater Beach FL, April 19-22, 2010.
  • Isaac Emery and Nathan Mosier. The Impact of Dry Matter Loss during Biomass Storage on Net Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Biofuels Production. 3rd Annual Ecological Sciences and Engineering Symposium, Purdue University, Sept. 25, 2009.
  • S Farris, R Krishnan, I Emery, L Du, T Chu, A Buben, K Qian, H Dichek, D Dichek. Both Macrophage-expressed Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator (uPA) and the uPA Receptor Accelerate Murine Atherosclerosis. 9th annual conference on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, April 2008.

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