Emma is the Director of Te Roopū Rangahau Hauora Māori o Ngāi Tahu (Ngāi Tahu Māori Health Research Unit) and a Lecturer in Māori Health, both in the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine at the University of Otago. She currently holds a Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) Emerging Researcher First Grant (2014-2017) entitled "Maori Disability Outcomes: Pathways and Experiences After Injury". She is a former HRC Eru Pōmare Post-Doctoral Research Fellow. As part of her fellowship, Emma worked with Associate Professor Sarah Derrett on the Prospective Outcomes of Injury Study (POIS; HRC-funded 2007-2013 and ACC co-funded 2007-2010) leading the Māori qualitative and quantitative components of POIS investigating the outcomes and experiences after injury for a group of injured Māori.
Emma joined the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine as an Assistant Research Fellow in 2007, after submitting her PhD in Genetics which was primarily focused on the genetic association of rheumatoid arthritis and gout for Māori. Her PhD thesis also explored Māori views of science, in particular genetic research. Emma was also the inaugural Programme Leader – Research and Development for Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu (2011-2013) which involved identifying key opportunities and developing and implementing collaborative research projects across the Ngāi Tahu Group.