Dr Bourke is a lecturer in Geography at Trinity College Dublin.
She is an Earth and Planetary Geomorphologist with expertise in extreme environments on Earth and Mars. She has published over 50 manuscripts on landscapes in Antarctica, Australia, Namibia, Mars and Ireland. She is the Chair of the International Association of Geomorphologist’s Working Group on Planetary Geomorphology; President of the Irish Geomorphology Group and serves on editorial advisory panels for the Journal of Aeolian Research, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms and the Journal of Earth Surface dynamics.
She received her BA and MA in Geography from University College Dublin. She undertook her Ph.D at the Australian National University investigating catastrophic floods in the Central Australian deserts, for which she received the university prize for outstanding postgraduate research in Earth Sciences. In 1998 she moved to the Smithsonian Institution for a Post-Doctoral position studying Martian landscapes. She then took up an academic post in the School of Geography, University of Oxford followed by a Senior Scientist position at the Planetary Science Institute, Arizona where she worked with NASA for nine years until her return to Ireland in 2012. Dr Bourke is a geomorphologist. Her research interests lie in the area of extremes and her goal is to better understand geomorphic processes in extreme environments (deserts on Earth and on Mars) and during extreme events (floods, mass wasting).