Raina M. Maier, PhD

Deputy Director, Center for Environmentally Sustainable Mining

Director, UArizona Superfund Research Center

Professor, Environmental Science

Raina M. Maier, PhD, is a Professor of Environmental Microbiology in the Department of Environmental Science and Director of the University of Arizona NIEHS Superfund Research Center which is focused on understanding the health impacts and advancing innovative solutions for remediation of mine waste sites. She leads a team investigating how best to establish vegetative caps on mine waste and the research results are changing the way we think about and evaluate the revegetation process. The need to translate this important work to mining companies inspired Dr. Maier to co-found the University of Arizona Center for Environmentally Sustainable Mining for which she currently serves as Deputy Director.

Dr. Maier emphasizes a multidisciplinary approach and is internationally known for her work in two areas. The first is study of microbial surfactants (biosurfactants) including the discovery of a new class of biosurfactants and development of novel applications for these unique materials in remediation and green technologies. Dr. Maier has several related patents and co-founded a company, GlycoSurf, to commercialize these materials.

She is also recognized for her work on the relationships between microbial diversity and ecosystem function in arid and semi-arid environments such as carbonate caves, desert soils, and mine tailings. Dr. Maier has published over 150 original research papers, authored 23 book chapters, and led the development of the textbook “Environmental Microbiology” currently in its third edition.


  • PhD, Microbiology, Rutgers University, New Jersey
  • BA, Biology/Chemistry, University of Minnesota