Professor Barbara MaherProfessor
Barbara is Professor and co-Director of LEC’s internationally-renowned Centre for Environmental Magnetism & Palaeomagnetism, Lancaster University. Recent awards and distinctions include the Schlumberger Award of the Mineralogical Society of Gt Britain & Ireland (2014), Pilkington Teaching Award (2013), a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award (2006-2012), the Institute of Physics’ award of the Chree Medal and Prize (2005) for ‘pioneering contributions to the study of magnetic signals from the geological record as a means of determining climatic changes’), Chairmanship of the Rock Magnetism Group, International Union of Geophysics and Geodesy, 2002 – 2006 (and re-elected Chair, 2006 – 2008), and Vice-presidency of the Quaternary Research Association, 2008 - 2010.
Her major research interests are in Environmental Magnetism and Palaeomagnetism, for purposes of retrieving palaeoclimatic, palaeoenvironmental and dating information from the magnetic records of Quaternary terrestrial sediments (soils, loess, tills, lake sediments), deep-sea sediments, and pre-Quaternary rocks. She led the international Working Group (INQUA ‘DIRTMAP3’ and NERC-QUEST) on Dust and Climate.
She is also involved in the application of magnetic methods to current environmental processes and problems, including magnetic monitoring and sourcing of particulate pollutants, tracing of modern fluvial sediment sources, and magnetic 'clean-up' of contaminated waters. She led the team which recently discovered the abundant presence of externally-derived, magnetite pollution particles in the human brain, identifying for the first time a possible causal role for these toxic particles in human neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease.
- Barbara co-directs LEC’s internationally-renowned Centre for Environmental Magnetism & Palaeomagnetism. Her major research interests are to investigate the health impacts of airborne magnetic pollution particles, and to retrieve palaeoclimatic, palaeoenvironmental & dating information from the magnetic records of Quaternary terrestrial sediments (soils, loess, tills, lake sediments) & deep-sea sediments. She applies magnetic methods to key, present day environmental problems, including magnetic monitoring and sourcing of airborne particulate pollutants, tracing of modern fluvial sediment sources, & magnetic 'clean-up' of contaminated waters.
PhD Supervision Interests
Magnetic analysis and quantification of atmospheric particulate pollutants Magnetic sourcing of mineral dusts in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica
Identifying and Evaluating New Environmental Risk Factors for Cancer, Cardiovascular, and Neurological Diseases through Innovative Approaches to Population-Based Exposure Assessment
02/04/2018 → 01/12/2020
Testing the 'megadrought' hypothesis : the timing, cause and impacts of climate change in equatorial Africa.
01/06/2017 → 31/05/2020
Brake Dust Emissions
01/01/2017 → 30/09/2020
RAPID 2G Magenetometer with Field Tumbling Capability
01/12/2014 → 01/12/2018
Sediment source tracing, the Tamar basin
03/03/2014 → …
Magnetic particles in human brains
03/02/2014 → …
Water Security - Feasibility Studies: Assessing the feasibility of using novel sub-micron, magnetic sorbent material for the removal of dissolved organic carbon from Blue Water
16/09/2012 → 15/03/2013
Radiocarbon dating Bassenthwaite lake sediments
18/06/2007 → 17/09/2007
Environmental Magnetism: Innovative problem - solving in climate change/pollution
01/09/2006 → 31/08/2012
International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA) (External organisation)
Membership of committee
The Schlumberger Award
Prize (including medals and awards)
- Centre for Biophotonics
- Earth Science
- Innovation for a better environment
- Sustainable Catchments
- Understanding a changing planet