Dr. Emily Christensen

Associate Professor of Chemistry
Profile image for Dr. Emily Christensen
B.C.M. in Christian Ministry (Ozark Christian College)
B.S. in Chemistry (University of Missouri)
Ph.D. in Chemistry (University of Missouri)

Articles: Christensen EM, Patel SM, Korasick DA, et al. Resolving the cofactor-binding site in the proline biosynthetic enzyme human pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductase 1. J Biol Chem. 2017;292(17):7233-7243. doi:10.1074/jbc.M117.780288

Pemberton TA, Still BR, Christensen EM, Singh H, Srivastava D, Tanner JJ. Proline: Mother Nature’s cryoprotectant applied to protein crystallography. Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr. 2012;68(Pt 8):1010-1018. doi:10.1107/S0907444912019580

Christensen EM, Bogner AN, Vandekeere A, Tam GS, Patel SM, Becker DF, Fendt SM, Tanner JJ. In crystallo screening for proline analog inhibitors of the proline cycle enzyme PYCR1. J Biol Chem. 2020 Dec 25;295(52):18316-18327. doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA120.016106


My favorite part about teaching at Johnson is: The community we have here among the faculty, staff, students, and their families. There is nothing more satisfying than doing what you love with the people you love.

When I’m not teaching, I love to: Hike, bike, and canoe with Rocky and Noah. Go fly fishing. Get lost in a good science fiction novel. Dig in the dirt.

In my classes, students can expect: To flee from rote memorization. To learn how to flex their curiosity, perform experiments, and construct knowledge. And to occasionally set things on fire.

My best advice to a new student in my program is: Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to try things out. Don’t be afraid of being “wrong.” These are all part of the scientific process. Be curious! Be bold! Be willing to rework and revise.

Because of my influence, I most want my students to become: Aware of their own ability to explore. Science is not a set of facts to be learned from “scientists.” It is an ongoing process that we all undertake, by which we reveal more and more about the intricacy of our universe and the cleverness of our Creator.

The myth-busting truth about my discipline I most want people to understand is: Science and religion are not adversaries. The more science I am exposed to, the more my faith is reinforced, and I want that to be true for my students, as well.

A quote that influences how I live is: “Strange is it that some who love God are yet afraid to study the God-declaring book of nature… The wisest of men are those who with pious eagerness trace the goings forth of Jehovah as well in creation as in grace; only the foolish have any fears lest the honest study of one should injure our faith in the other.” – C. H. Spurgeon