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Personal profile

Scholarly biography

I am an environmental scientist with expertise in water quality assessment and management. My teaching and research interests focus on three main areas;

  • The development and application of tools for quantifying and locating the sources of water contaminants. 
  • Statistical risk analysis of contaminated water to inform management to protect environment quality and human health.
  • Wastewater reuse to combat future water scarcity

Working with industry partners, my research has responded to challenges in the water sector, including those posed by climate change and population increase.

Approach to teaching

My teaching is driven by published research and my own recent and ongoing research projects. By integrating research into sessions and encouraging students to read the latest published literature, they have the chance to explore contemporary problems affecting society and discover how these can be addressed. In my modules, there is also a strong element of applied science taught through a range of different practical sessions. In these sessions, students have access to the state-of-the-art research facilities of the Centre for Aquatic Environments (CAE), including specialist water quality laboratories, as well as a large array of field equipment. This is evident in my MSc level module ‘Water Quality Analysis’, where students spend time in the River Ouse catchment (Sussex) getting to grips with a range of water quality sampling methods. This is then followed by sessions in our microbial and geochemical laboratories, where students use research grade equipment to analyse samples collected for a range of important water quality parameters.  

Supervisory Interests

I am interested in supervising postgraduate research students in the field of water and wastewater quality and treatment, with a focus on environmental microbiology, prediction and mapping and risk assessment.  

Research interests

My main research interests focus upon the design, development and application of tools that can identify and help manage aquatic environments impacted by a range of existing and emerging contaminants. These contaminants have the potential to negatively impact human health and the ecological and chemical quality of aquatic environments. It is important to me that I pursue research that is practical and can feed directly into catchment management undertaken by water quality managers. As such, a large proportion of my research is in collaboration with water industry partners. My research projects can be divided into three main topic areas:

Bacteriophage application to water quality issues

Bacteriophages have been proposed as appropriate indicators for the presence of pathogenic viruses in water. They have similar structure, morphology, size and survival properties to pathogenic viruses. Interestingly, bacteriophages can also exhibit specificity to bacteria found exclusively in human or non-human animals and have been used to identify faecal inputs into aquatic environments. Therefore, bacteriophages represent useful low-cost tools for studying the presence, transport, and survival of viral pathogens in a range of settings. Examples of my research in this area include the detection of different bacteriophage groups in water and shellfish; development of Enterococcus bacteriophage microbial source tracking (MST) markers; application and survival studies of a range of bacteriophages proposed as MST markers; Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded projects based in India applying and developing bacteriophage MST tools; research in collaboration with South East Water using bacteriophages alongside genetic MST markers to identify nutrient inputs; and research in collaboration with Thames Water into the application of bacteriophages as surrogates for pathogenic viruses to assess the ability of a range of wastewater treatment technology to remove viruses.

Quantitative microbial risk assessment

Research in collaboration with South East Water has focussed on quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) approaches to assess the potential human health risk to recreational users of surface waters augmented with treated wastewater.

River catchment scale predictive water quality modelling

Research in collaboration with Southern Water has considered how low-cost catchment modelling approaches (e.g. ArcSWAT) can help to predict where and when water quality issues are most likely to arise.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Brighton

Bachelor, University of Brighton

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