• United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

1. antimicrobial resistance in the environment
2. microbial eco-toxicology
3. community stability and performance
4. pollutants of emerging concern

Personal profile

Research Interests

  1. Environmental Microbiology
  2. Eco-toxicology
  3. Soil & Water Quality
  4. Antimicrobial resistance in the environment

Microorganisms are omnipresent and capable of impacting the entire biosphere. They, especially bacteria, are highly diverse in terms of structure and function, and they can play a major role in the cycling of nutrients, remediation of contamination, and public health. My research interest involves the integration of state-of-the-art microbiological measurement technologies and ecological principles into the realm of environmental protection and sustainability.

Some on-going projects: 

Team AWARE - Amoebae With Antimicrobial Resistant Endosymbionts (with UWS and IISD-ELA, U. Manitoba, etc.)

The project examines the role of free-living amoebae (a protozoan found in waters and sediment) as a mechanism and vector in developing and spreading antimicrobial-resistant bacteria. Free-living amoebae harbour bacteria and essentially could be protected, to an extent, from toxic compounds in the environment. However, for some additional reason, they further enhance the potential for bacteria to become resistant. Some of the bacteria are fish pathogens. So their mechanism as a driving force for drug resistance must be investigated.

This investigation takes place within a whole-lake exposure study at the Experimental Lakes Area (Ontario), which includes the impacts of multiple trophic levels within a lake--including Lake Trout. Comparisons of bacterial populations and their resistance traits in the water, sediment, amoebae, and fish will be made as preliminary results towards understanding whether similarities in their distribution occur and whether QAC disinfectants also contribute to the selection pressure.
 

Team DAGGAR - Dangerous and Growing Globally, Antimicrobial Resistance. 

Work related to antimicrobial resistance evolved from pharmaceutical eco-toxicology with the development of microbial-community endpoints. This work resulted in international exposure and award-winning publications. International collaborations include researchers and government/policy agencies in Australia, the UK, the USA, Canada, Cuba, Denmark, Lebanon, and The Netherlands. The research focus has been to measure resistance genes and antibiotics in the environment quantitatively; it extends previous qualitative observations to a predictive level aimed at solving practical problems.  The investigations of PEC (pollutants of emerging concern) continue, as it remains a contemporary international problem.

Team ARMOR – Antimicrobial Resistance May Offer Resilience? (stability and resilience of microbial communities and performance during pollution stress). 

Microbial community dynamics are examined in response to contaminant exposure in engineered bioreactors. The research endeavours to find ecologically resilient and economically robust processes to avoid significant investment in a new (or upgraded) treatment process as new regulations emerge.

GR-AMS - Greco-Roman Antimicrobial Minerals.  Multi-disciplinary, collaborative project.

British Colonialism, Marine Sciences and Fisheries Governance. Interdisciplinary project with the History Department and U. Mzuzu in Malawi. 

 

Teaching Interests

Management roles:

Courses:

  • Water & Wastewater Treatment Design (CL447 + CL978)
  • Principles of Environmental Microbiology (CL430 + CL948)
  • Environmental Pollution Management (CL970)
  • Independent research projects (e.g., CL973, CL998, CL999)
  • Dissertations/theses (year 4, MSc, MRes)

Awards:

  • 2018 - Teaching Excellence Awards, nominated
  • 2016 - Teaching Excellence Awards, shortlisted Best in Faculty.
  • 2015 - Teaching Excellence Awards, shortlisted Best in Faculty.
  • 2015 - Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)
  • 2014 - Teaching Excellence Awards, shortlisted Overall Best Supportive Teacher

International courses

  • Gdansk University of Technology (Poland), Inter-Applied Chemistry (2020)
  • Rajamangala University of Technology-Krungthep (Thailand), International School (2020)
  • Gdansk University of Technology (Poland, 2018)
  • Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay, Department of Civil Engineering (India, 2017)
  • Gdansk University of Technology (Poland, 2014-15)

Academic / Professional qualifications

Work Experience

Additional Qualifications:

  • 2015 - Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) 

Expertise & Capabilities

Research themes:

  • Antibiotic resistance in the environment
  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Susceptibility assays
  • Biological indicators of environmental pollution
  • Microbiological community stability in engineered and natural systems
  • Eco-toxicology, bioremediation
  • Outdoor, microcosm/mesocosm experimental systems

Routine research services

  • DNA/RNA analyses
  • PCR (polymerase chain reaction)
  • Genetic probe design (primer design)
  • Community analysis (sequencing, DGGE)
  • Biological assessments of soil, sediment and water
  • Molecular and microbiological techniques
  • Phytoplankton, algae
  • Bacteria
  • Micro-invertebrates
  • Water quality monitoring
  • Soil quality determinations
  • Wastewater analysis

Advance Statistics

  • Descriptor / inferential 
  • Multi-parametric analyses
  • Non-parametric analyses
  • Community analyses

Personal Statement

Dr Knapp is Director of Postgraduate Studies and an active researcher in the "Water, Environment, Sustainability and Public Health" (WESP) research centre.

Think you can live without microbes?  Do you want to take that challenge?

Microorganisms are omnipresent and capable of impacting the entire biosphere. They, especially bacteria, are highly diverse in structure and function, and they can play a significant role in the cycling of nutrients, remediation of contamination, and public health. Unfortunately, many people often overlook the ecological interactions within the microbial communities that support the process. Understanding these interactions requires knowledge of organisms' distribution and abundance and their interactions in an environmental setting. Further, it requires analytical tools to examine microbial organisms in an effective and timely fashion. Fortunately, high throughput culture-independent molecular methods are allowing researchers to monitor these interactions quantitatively. My research interest involves the integration of state-of-the-art microbiological measurement technologies and ecological principles into the realm of environmental protection and sustainability.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Application of molecular techniques in assessing alachlor transformation in aquatic mesocosms, University of Kansas

Award Date: 1 Jan 2002

Master of Science, Diurnal migration of Cryptomonas spp. in Cross Reservoir , University of Kansas

Award Date: 1 Jan 1999

Bachelor of Science, International business, University of Kansas

Award Date: 1 Jan 1994

External positions

Research Associate - EU Marie Curie funded, Newcastle University

1 Oct 200631 Jan 2009

Research Associate, University of Kansas

1 Sept 200230 Sept 2006

Keywords

  • wastewater treatment
  • bioremediation
  • pollution control
  • pharmaceutical contamination
  • antimicrobial resistance
  • antibiotic resistance
  • microbiology
  • molecular ecology
  • microbial ecology
  • limnology
  • water quality
  • molecular biology
  • DNA analysis
  • RNA analysis
  • traditional medicines
  • bioinformatics

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