Emily M Elliott

  • Director, Pittsburgh Water Collaboratory
  • Professor, Department of Geology & Environmental Science
  • Director, Regional Stable Isotope Laboratory for Earth & Environmental Science Research

Dr. Emily Elliott is Director and co-founder of the Pittsburgh Collaboratory for Water Research, Education, and Outreach at the University of Pittsburgh. She is trained as a Science Ambassador through the National Academies of Sciences “Science & Engineering Ambassador Program” and the 2018 recipient of the American Geophysical Union’s Sulzman Award for Excellence in Education and Mentoring. As a Professor in the Department of Geology & Environmental Science, Dr. Elliott’s research group examines the tight coupling between human activities and reactive nitrogen distributions in atmosphere, terrestrial and aquatic systems across spatial scales using stable isotope biogeochemistry. Her research group has advanced knowledge by developing and applying novel stable isotope techniques to challenging questions regarding the impact of human activities on reactive nitrogen distributions and dynamics. Her research approach is multi-faceted and transdisciplinary, pulling from the fields of biogeochemistry, isotope geochemistry, atmospheric chemistry, hydrology, aquatic and terrestrial ecology, and geography. She is passionate about the importance of interdisciplinary geosciences for addressing sustainability challenges, advancing diversity and inclusion in the geosciences, community-engaged research, and science communication.

    Education & Training

  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, U.S. Geological Survey, Water Resources Division
  • Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, Department of Geography & Environmental Engineering
  • M.S., Johns Hopkins University, Department of Geography & Environmental Engineering
  • B.A., Environmental Science, University of Virginia

    Awards

  • Sulzman Award for Excellence in Education and Mentoring, American Geophysical Union, Biogeosciences Section, 2018
  • Sustainability Faculty Fellow, Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, 2017 & 2018

Research Interests

My research program examines the tight coupling between human activities and reactive nitrogen distributions in atmosphere, terrestrial and aquatic systems at multiple spatial scales using stable isotope geochemistry. These coupled relationships are investigated in agricultural, energy production, transportation, and human-built environments to determine how best to manage inputs of reactive nitrogen to protect water quality, air quality, ecosystem and human health. I have a particular interest in evaluating how infrastructure influences nutrient delivery to urban streams and contributes to eutrophication of rivers and coastal ecosystems.

Research Grants

National Science Foundation- Hydrologic Sciences
CAREER: Air-ecosystem-water interactions of reactive nitrogen in urban systems
Role: Principal Investigator

Department of Energy- National Energy Technology Laboratory
Characterizing reactive nitrogen emissions and deposition associated with Marcellus Shale development activity
Role: Principal Investigator

National Science Foundation- Geoscience Education
Energy, Environment and Society Learning Network (ENERGY NET): Enhancing opportunities for learning using an Earth systems science framework
Role: Principal Investigator

National Science Foundation- Hydrologic Sciences
Emerging topics in biogeochemical cycles: A new tool for assessing nitrogen saturation status in forests — Mass-independent ∆17O of nitrate
Role: Principal Investigator

National Science Foundation- Earth Sciences, Instrumentation and Facilities
Early Career Investigator Support: Development of a Regional Stable Isotope Laboratory For Earth & Environmental Science Research
Role: Principal Investigator

Electric Power Research Institute
The Stable Nitrogen Isotope Composition of NOx in Coal-Fired Power Plant Stacks
Role: Principal Investigator

U.S. Department of Agricultural, CSREES, National Research Initiative, Air Quality Program
Stable Isotopes of Reactive Nitrogen and Particulate Matter: Improved Tools for Characterizing the Transport and Fate of Agricultural Emissions
Role: Principal investigator