Moira completed her undergraduate degree in astronomy at the University of St Andrews, before completing her Ph.D. in applied mathematics in 1989. She then moved to the University of Sussex as a postdoctoral researcher, before returning to St Andrews to take up a lectureship in 1995 within the physics department. In 2012 she became the department’s first female professor.
She has taught modules at many levels throughout the degree programme including first-year and second-year astrophysics, fluid dynamics and magnetofluids, as well as tutoring for courses such as electromagnetism and “transferable skills for physicists”. She also plays an important role in running the school’s new MSc. Astrophysics degree.
Her research is focussed on solar-like stars and their star systems. In particular, most of her work is on the magnetic fields of these stars, since this determines the stellar wind and coronal evolution. The ultimate aim of her research is to “understand the evolutionary history of our own solar system and the fundamental physics that governs planet habitability“.