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Teaches Chemistry courses including Principles of Chemistry I and II, Environmental Chemistry and Analytical Chemistry.

Scholarly interests - drinking water contaminants, metals in the environment, carbon cycling in freshwater systems, community based learning in chemistry courses.

Emily Lesher is an award-winning environmental geochemist with expertise in aquatic, analytical, environmental, and surface chemistry, as well as the fate and transport of metals in impacted waters. She has taught a variety of environmental science and chemistry courses with a special focus on metals, radionuclides, and nanomaterials in the environment.

In the News

Emily Lesher and student in chemistry lab- thumbnail

Serving Through Science: Dr. Emily Lesher gathers water samples in local schools to analyze for lead content.

In addition to her teaching, Dr. Lesher’s research and advocacy is having an effect. She has been meeting with officials from the Maine departments of Environmental Protection and of Education, representatives from water utilities and public school representatives to continue working on this problem. Read how Dr. Lesher and her students are tackling this issue.


Smith, K., Ranville, J., Lesher, E.K., McKnight, D., Diedrich, D.J., Sofield, R. (2014) Fractionation of Fulvic Acid by Iron and Aluminum Oxides—Influence on Copper Toxicity to Ceriodaphnia dubia.  Environmental Science & Technology. 48(20), 11934-11943.

Lesher, E.K., Ranville, J.F., and Honeyman, B.D. (2013) Detection and Characterization of Uranium-Humic Complexes During 1D Transport Studies. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 109, 127-142.

Lesher, E. K., Bednar, A., Poda, A., Ranville, J.F. (2012) Field-flow fractionation coupled to inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (FFF-ICP-MS): Methodologies and applications to environmental nanoparticle research. Chapter in Field-Flow Fractionation in Biopolymer Analysis, editors: Karin D. Caldwell and Kim R. Williams, publisher: Springer.

Lesher, E.K. (2011) Development and application of flow field-flow fractionation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry for analysis of uranium speciation and transport in the presence of nanoparticulate ligands. Colorado School of Mines PhD thesis.

Lesher, E.K., Ranville, J.F., and Honeyman, B.D. (2009) Analysis of pH dependent uranium (VI) sorption to nanoparticulate hematite by flow field-flow fractionation - inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Environmental Science & Technology, 43(14), 5403-5409.

Campbell, K., Kukkadapu, R., Qafoku, N., Peacock, A., Lesher, E., Williams, K.,  Bargar, J., Wilkins, M., Icenhower, J., Figueroa, L., Ranville, J., Davis, J., and Long, P.E. (2012) Microbiological, mineralogical and geochemical characteristics of a naturally reduced zone in a uranium-contaminated aquifer. Applied Geochemistry, 27(1), 1499-1511.

Mitrano, D., Lesher, E.K., Bednar, A.J., Monserud, J., Higgins, C., and Ranville, J.F. (2011) Detection of nano-Ag using single particle inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry, 31(1), 115-121.

Trenfield, M., McDonald, S., Kovacs, K., Lesher, E.K., Pringle, J., Markich, S., Ng, J., Noller, B., Brown, P., van Dam, R. (2011) Dissolved organic carbon reduces uranium bioavailability and toxicity. 1. Characterisation of aquatic fulvic acid and its complexation with uranium. Environmental Science & Technology, 45(7), 3075-3081.

Pace, H., Lesher, E., and Ranville, J.F. (2010) Influence of stability on the acute toxicity of CdSe/ZnS nanocrystals to Daphnia MagnaEnvironmental Toxicology & Chemistry, 29(6), 1338-1344.


U.S. Geological Survey Award - a $28,200 grant support their collaborative remote sensing buoy project with the Portland Water District, “Real Time Data for Sebago Lake to Support Sustainable Water Resource Management, Lake Research, and Community Engagement.” (2017)

The Margaret Burnham Trust Award - a $5,000 research grant for lead testing and mitigation in schools. (2017)