For Emerson Grey of the Bryant Research Group, sustainability and research go hand in hand. His dedication to making the lab go “green” earned him a CU Green Labs Program Award for Individual Achievement.
While his research focus is on developing a drug delivery system that uses polymeric microparticles to target macrophages in the lungs, he sees sustainable research practices as important, regardless of the field.
“As engineers, we focus tremendous effort and resources into researching and addressing today’s most pressing problems, including climate change and poor environmental stewardship,” Grey said. “This work is imperative, but is not without impact of its own. Responsible energy consumption and waste management in the lab is complementary to the intended outcome of sustainability-focused research.”
Grey’s involvement with the Green Labs Program concerned pipette tip recycling and sorting as well as solvent recycling at the Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building. As a student in the Bryant lab, he served as the sustainability liaison, where he encouraged recycling, composting and energy conservation. He worked to educate his labmates on sustainability practices and even produced reference materials and procedures for their use.
Grey, a fifth year PhD candidate, was nominated by Barbara Petkus, the Green Labs Program Assistant and Outreach Coordinator.
“In addition to implementing sustainability initiatives in the lab where he works, Emerson has demonstrated commitment and persistence with helping CU Green Labs solve a contamination issue in one of the laboratory recycling streams,” Petkus said. “Emerson is a deserving individual and has been a committed partner of Green Labs.”
Grey thanked Petkus for the nomination, and acknowledged the efforts of the entire Green Labs team for educating and equipping CU Boulder researchers to reduce the environmental impact of their research.
"A big thanks goes to my colleagues in the Bryant group for being so proactive about daily lab sustainability practices that really add up,” Grey said.
Grey was one of four CU Green Labs Program awardees this year.