Dr Charles Knapp


Civil and Environmental Engineering


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.

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Area of Expertise

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

Prize And Awards

Researcher Development Programme Supervisor, 2017-18 - Nominated
Teaching Excellence Awards - Nominated
Teaching Excellence Awards - Shortlisted "Best in Faculty"
Teaching Excellence Awards - Shortlisted "Best in Faculty"
Teaching Excellence Awards (2014) -- Shortlisted "Best Overall Supportive Teacher"
“Best Environmental Science Paper of 2009”, Runner-up; Environmental Science and Technology 

More prizes and awards


Work Experience

Additional Qualifications:

  • 2015 - Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) 
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Presence of antibiotic resistance genes in the receiving environment of Iqaluit's wastewater treatment plant in water, sediment, and clams sampled from Frobisher Bay, Nunavut : a preliminary study in the Canadian Arctic
Starks Madeleine, Schaefer Christina M, Jeffries Kenneth M, Deslauriers David, Hoang Luong Kim, Wong Charles S, Hanson Mark L, Knapp Charles W
Arctic Science Vol 9, pp. 919-927 (2023)
Antibiotic resistance patterns in soils across the Scottish landscape
Pagaling Eulyn, Hough Rupert, Avery Lisa, Robinson Lucinda, Freitag Thomas, Coull Malcolm, Zhou Xinyuan, Su Jian-Qiang, Peshkur Tatyana, Zhu Yong-Guan, Graham David W, Knapp Charles W
Communications Earth & Environment Vol 4 (2023)
Toxicological response and bioaccumulation of strontium in Festuca rubra L. (red fescue) and Trifolium pratense L. (red clover) in contaminated soil microcosms
Srikhumsuk Phatchani, Peshkur Tatyana, Renshaw Joanna C, Knapp Charles W
Environmental Systems Research Vol 12 (2023)
Changes in resistome profile of potential probiotic Lactiplantibacillus pentosus in response to edible oil adaptation
Alonso García Esther, Benomar Nabil, Lavilla Lerma Leyre, de la Fuente Ordoñez Juan José, Knapp Charles W, Abriouel Hikmate
Food Microbiology Vol 109 (2023)
Repurposing blood glucose test strips for identification of the antimicrobial colistin
Lopez Carla, Raykova Magdalena R, Corrigan Damion K, Knapp Charles W, Ward Andrew C
Sensors and Actuators Reports Vol 4 (2022)
Bioavailability of potentially toxic elements influences antibiotic resistance gene and mobile genetic element abundances in urban and rural soils
Robins Katie, McCann Clare M, Zhou Xin-Yuan, Su Jian-Qiang, Cooke Martin, Knapp Charles W, Graham David W
Science of the Total Environment Vol 847 (2022)

More publications

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Management roles:


  • 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)


  • 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)
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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. 


Professional Activities

NERC: Pushing the Frontiers (Event)
Peer reviewer
AMR in the environment (UK)
Invited Lectures: Wastewater & water treatment: water resource management
Gdańsk University of Technology
Visiting researcher
Honorary Senior Lecturer (U. Glasgow)
Invited Lecture: Wastewater & water treatment: implications on antimicrobial resistance

More professional activities


Canada_IPAP: Amoebae with antimicrobial resistant endsymbionts (AWARE)
Knapp, Charles (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2023 - 30-Jan-2024
KTP 13260 - AHK Energy Services Ltd. Development of robust analytical methodology to support the creation of an index of risk of self-heating ability of biomass pellets
Lord, Richard (Principal Investigator) Knapp, Charles (Co-investigator) Li, Jun (Co-investigator) Liggat, John (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2022 - 31-Jan-2025
British Colonialism, Marine Sciences, and Fisheries Governance: Lessons from Lake Malawi in the Mid- Twentieth Century
Wilson, David (Principal Investigator) Knapp, Charles (Co-investigator) Morse, Tracy (Co-investigator)
04-Jan-2022 - 03-Jan-2023
Scotland-India Antimicrobial Resistance in the Environment Network (SIAMREN)
Ward, Andrew (Principal Investigator) Knapp, Charles (Co-investigator)
23-Jan-2020 - 30-Jan-2021
Identification of sensor targets for low cost soil fertility assessment
Ward, Andrew (Principal Investigator) Corrigan, Damion (Co-investigator) Knapp, Charles (Co-investigator)
09-Jan-2020 - 08-Jan-2021
Monitoring of PAHs and heavy metals in sediments industrial estuaries
Knapp, Charles (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 30-Jan-2020

More projects

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Dr Charles Knapp
Civil and Environmental Engineering

Email: charles.knapp@strath.ac.uk
Tel: 548 3351