Principal Investigator


Emmy Smith

Emmy is a field geologist and sedimentologist interested in the co-evolution of life, climate, oceans, and tectonics during the Neoproterozoic and Cambrian. Her research integrates geological mapping, regional stratigraphy, sedimentology, paleontology, isotope geochemistry, and geochronology in field sites that include Mongolia, the southwest USA, Namibia, and South Africa to test hypotheses about mechanistic links between environmental change and evolutionary milestones.

Email: efsmith[at]jhu[dot]edu


Lab Manager


Dana Brenner

Dana is a research scientist with both geology and general environmental science interests. My research focuses on understanding chemical and geochemical processes in the environment. I use a combination of laboratory experimentation, fieldwork, and computational modeling to connect micro-scale reactions to macro-scale natural processes. My research projects range from evaluating metamorphic thermal signatures with carbonate clumped isotopes to quantifying watershed scale denitrification.

Dana works in the stable isotope mass spec facility shared between Dr. Smith and Dr. Maya Gomes.

Email: danabrenner[at]jhu[dot]edu


Graduate Students


Lyle Nelson

Lyle is a second year graduate student in E&PS. He is researching topics related to Neoproterozoic Earth history and tectonics.

Email: lylelnelson[at]jhu[dot]edu

Google Scholar


Mary Lonsdale

Mary is a first year E&PS graduate student interested in reconstructing paleoenvironments surrounding extreme events, particularly during the Neoproterozoic.

Email: mlonsdale[at]jhu[dot]edu

Undergraduate Students


Lucy Webb

Lucy is a double major in Earth and Planetary Science and Molecular and Cellular Biology. She is currently working on preparing samples from Ediacaran strata in the southwest USA and Mexico for stable isotope analysis.


Nicole Stevens

Nicole is pursuing degrees in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Earth and Planetary Science. Originally from Tampa, Florida, Nicole has been working with marine animals for many years, previously holding positions at marine laboratories and aquariums. She is currently a Dolphin Enrichment Specialist at the National Aquarium and hopes to use her skills to study the marine creatures of the past. In the Smith Lab, she has been working on L. Hardie's Andros Island Bahama cores. After graduation, she plans pursue a PhD in an earth science field and eventually do research of her own.

High School Students

Jacob Thompson

Jacob is high school student at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and is part of the Baltimore Ingenuity Program.

Research Assistants


Amelia Lindsay-Kaufman

Amelia graduated from McGill University in 2017 with a B.A. in Russian studies and a minor in Earth and planetary science. She moved to Baltimore after graduation to complete a year of service with AmeriCorps working through a Johns Hopkins partnership with a Baltimore City middle school. This year, in addition to working in the Johns Hopkins department of Earth and planetary science, she also volunteers at the Smithsonian museum of natural history.