Dr Charles Knapp

Senior Lecturer

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Personal statement

Dr. Knapp is Course Coordinator of MSc Environmental Engineering and active researcher in the "Water, Environment, Sustainability and Public Health" (WESP) research centre.

Think you can live without microbes?  Wanna take that challenge?

Microorganisms are omnipresent and capable of impacting the entire biosphere. They, especially the bacteria, are highly diverse in terms of structure and function, and they can play a major role in 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 require knowledge of the distribution and abundance of organisms 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 quantitatively monitor these interactions. 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

Has expertise in:

    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

Prizes and awards

Researcher Development Programme Supervisor, 2017-18 - Nominated
Recipient
19/6/2018
Teaching Excellence Awards - Nominated
Recipient
11/5/2018
Teaching Excellence Awards - Shortlisted "Best in Faculty"
Recipient
5/2016
Teaching Excellence Awards - Shortlisted "Best in Faculty"
Recipient
14/5/2015
Teaching Excellence Awards (2014) -- Shortlisted "Best Overall Supportive Teacher"
Recipient
2014
“Best Environmental Science Paper of 2009”, Runner-up; Environmental Science and Technology 
Recipient
2/2010

more prizes and awards

Qualifications

Work Experience

Additional Qualifications:

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

Publications

Rapid selection of antimicrobial resistant bacteria in complex water systems by chlorine and pipe materials
Khan Sadia, Beattie Tara K, Knapp Charles W
Environmental Chemistry Letters Vol 17, pp. 1367-1373 (2019)
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10311-019-00867-z
Horizontal gene transfer mediated bacterial antibiotic resistance
Sun Dongchang, Jeannot Katy, Xiao Yonghong, Knapp Charles W
Frontiers in Microbiology Vol 10 (2019)
https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2019.01933
New insights into the molecular effects and probiotic properties of Lactobacillus pentosus pre-adapted to edible oils
Alonso García Esther, Pérez Montoro Beatriz, Benomar Nabil, Castillo-Gutiérrez Sonia, Estudillo-Martínez María D, Knapp Charles W, Abriouel Hikmate
Food Science and Technology Vol 109, pp. 153-162 (2019)
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lwt.2019.04.028
New insights into the role of plasmids from probiotic Lactobacillus pentosus MP-10 in Aloreña table olive brine fermentation
Abriouel Hikmate, Pérez Montoro Beatriz, Ordoñez Juan José de la Fuente, Lavilla Lerma Leyre, Knapp Charles W, Benomar Nabil
Scientific Reports Vol 9 (2019)
https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-47384-1
Can the legacy of industrial pollution influence antimicrobial resistance in estuarine sediments?
Rodgers Kiri, McLellan Ian, Peshkur Tatyana, Williams Roderick, Tonner Rebecca, Hursthouse Andrew S, Knapp Charles W, Henriquez Fiona L
Environmental Chemistry Letters Vol 17, pp. 595-607 (2019)
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10311-018-0791-y
The legacy of industrial pollution in estuarine sediments : spatial and temporal variability implications for ecosystem stress
Rodgers Kiri, McLellan Ian, Peshkur Tatyana, Williams Roderick, Tonner Rebecca, Knapp Charles W, Henriquez Fiona L, Hursthouse Andrew S
Environmental Geochemistry and Health (2019)
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10653-019-00316-4

more publications

Teaching

Management roles:

Courses taught:

  • Environmental Engineering (CL328)
  • Water & Wastewater Treatment Design (CL447 + CL978)
  • Principles of Environmental Microbiology (CL430 + CL948)
  • Pollution and the Rehabilitation of Degraded Ecosystems (EV908)
  • MSc Projects in Environmental Engineering (CL944)
  • Independent Study in Collaboration with Industry (CL973, contributor)

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

  • Microbiology for Engineers, Gdansk University of Technology (Poland, 2018)
  • Microbiology for Engineers, Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (India, 2017)
  • Restoration of contaminated land, Gdansk University of Technology (Poland, 2015)
  • Ecotoxicology, Gdansk University of Technology (Poland, 2014)

Research interests

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

Microorganisms are omnipresent and capable of impacting the entire biosphere. They, especially the bacteria, are highly diverse in terms of structure and function, and they can play a major role in 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 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, UK, USA, Canada, Cuba, Denmark and The Netherlands. Research focus has been to quantitatively measure resistance genes and antibiotics in the environment; 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 processes that are ecologically resilient and economically robust to avoid major investment in a new (or upgraded) treatment process as new regulations emerge.

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

Professional activities

Iqaluit, Nunavut - sampling expedition
Participant
6/8/2019
Antimicrobial resistance: what does the environment have to say
Speaker
5/2/2019
Aligarh Muslim University
Visiting researcher
3/2/2019
Environmental Geotechnics (Journal)
Editorial board member
2/1/2019
Frontiers in Microbiology (Journal)
Editor
2019
NERC Standard Grant Panel (Event)
Member
12/12/2018

more professional activities

Projects

Monitoring of PAHs and heavy metals in sediments industrial estuaries
Knapp, Charles (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 31-Jan-2020
EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Power Networks and Smart Grids | Hall, Rebecca
João, Elsa (Principal Investigator) Knapp, Charles (Co-investigator) Hall, Rebecca (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2017 - 01-Jan-2021
EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Wind & Marine Energy Systems | Hall, Rebecca
João, Elsa (Principal Investigator) Knapp, Charles (Co-investigator) Hall, Rebecca (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2017 - 01-Jan-2021
Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP 2016-2017 University of Strathclyde) | Tonner, Rebecca
Knapp, Charles (Principal Investigator) Phoenix, Vernon (Co-investigator) Tonner, Rebecca (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2017 - 01-Jan-2020
Robust Decentralised Low Energy Faecal Sludge Dewatering leading to Sanitation, Clean Water and Sustainable Energy Resource - Natural Synergies
Lord, Richard (Principal Investigator) João, Elsa (Co-investigator) Knapp, Charles (Co-investigator)
"The project concerns dewatering/treatment of faecal sludge (black waters). Natural Synergies Ltd's (NS) aims are to develop a stand-alone dewatering process for rural areas of the UK/EU, reducing transport costs and carbon footprint and in developing countries as a low cost decentralised/localised sanitation system. The developed system can be also be used as a pre/post-cursor to a small scale anaerobic digestion (a follow-on proposal) or thermal unit, leading to closed loop decentralised, localised sanitation and off-grid energy generation. The dewatering process being developed will incorporate ultrasound to make available free, interstitial and cell water, together with electrokinetics to drive/separate water from faecal sludge via filter mesh. Preliminary work has shown potential for high levels of dewatering (15 - 40 % DM) and pathogen reduction (incl. helminths) at low energy inputs. System design will aim at non-specialised component manufacture, where possible, using local industries.

Our vision is to develop an entire new system of treating pit latrine wastes in developing countries, which not only generates renewable energy, but also a safe, useable fertilizer. In theory, this could be achieved now using conventional process technology. What is lacking, however, is a small scale robust system at relatively lower cost that can be operated with ease in remote areas. Our research contribution to delivering this is focussing on two specific challenges: Firstly, how to destroy human parasitic worms or their eggs, so as to allow safe reuse of the solidified material for agricultural fertilizer; Secondly, can we use locally available plant material to simultaneously increase the amount of energy, as biogas, which can be produced. The systems that Natural Synergies Ltd have been developing are highly effective but also highly innovative. We need to be sure of the overall environmental performance and social benefits of any new system, as well as its cost effectiveness. If successful this technology could also offer significant cost-savings and environmental benefits in developed countries at small-scale wastewater treatment plants in remote locations (e.g. Scottish Highlands), reducing road-tanker traffic, transport fuels and carbon emissions."
01-Jan-2017 - 31-Jan-2018
Quantifying Spatial AMR Patterns across Urban and Rural Landscapes
Knapp, Charles (Principal Investigator)
"Antimicrobial resistance is increasing in nature and threatens the effectiveness of our drug therapies and infection control. However, it remains difficult to distinguish what originates from human activities or what is natural. Therefore, we must extend the scale and depth monitoring efforts to better understand what is driving the increases in resistance traits.

This project will use two collections of previously characterised soils to compare and contrast distributions of AR genes under widely varying conditions, ranging from urban, agriculture, legacy mining, and pristine rural environments. The project will utilise DNA extractions and new genetic technology to quantify over 230 AR genes in the samples. Soil inventories provide us well-characterised soils and the wealth of information that describes both the soils and the impacts at source locations.

The project will generate an astonishing 120,000 AR-related data points (400 locations x 300 genes), each with extended background information on environmental conditions-creating among the largest geographic representation of AR gene distribution across landscapes ever created; sufficiently detailed to make cross-cutting observations of landscape effects on acquired vs innate AR levels. With advanced multi-parametric statistics, we will relate specific environmental conditions and factors with observed AR genes levels in soils to identify risk factors associated resistance development and impacts on human and agricultural health."
01-Jan-2016 - 31-Jan-2018

more projects

Address

Civil and Environmental Engineering
James Weir Building

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