Dr Charles Knapp

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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

On metal and 'spoiled' wine : analysing psimythion (synthetic cerussite) pellets (5th-3rd centuries BCE) and hypothesising gas-metal reactions over a fermenting liquid within a Greek pot
Photos-Jones E, Bots P, Oikonomou E, Hamilton A, Knapp CW
Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences (2020)
Environmental impacts of decommissioning : onshore versus offshore wind farms
Hall Rebecca, João Elsa, Knapp Charles W
Environmental Impact Assessment Review Vol 83 (2020)
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eiar.2020.106404
In silico mapping of microbial communities and stress responses in a porcine slaughterhouse and pork products through its production chain, and the efficacy of HLE disinfectant
Campos Calero Guillermo, Gómez Natacha Cabellero, Lavilla Lerma Leyre, Benomar Nabil, Knapp Charles W, Abriouel Hikmate
Food Research International Vol 136 (2020)
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2020.109486
Potential risks of antibiotic resistant bacteria and genes in bioremediation of petroleum hydrocarbon contaminated soils
Cunningham Colin J, Kuyukina Maria S, Ivshina Irena B, Konev Alexandr I, Peshkur Tatyana A, Knapp Charles W
Environmental Sciences: Processes and Impacts Vol 22, pp. 1110-1124 (2020)
https://doi.org/10.1039/C9EM00606K
The interweaving roles of mineral and microbiome in shaping the antibacterial activity of archaeological medicinal clays
Christidis GE, Knapp CW, Venieri D, Gounaki I, Elgy C, Valsami-Jones E, Photos-Jones E
Journal of Ethnopharmacology Vol 260 (2020)
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2020.112894
Bridging the gaps : Bole and terra sigillata as artefacts, as simples and as antibacterial clays
Venieri Danae, Gounaki Iosifina, Christidis George E, Knapp Charles W, Bouras-Vallianatos Petros, Photos-Jones Effie
Minerals Vol 10 (2020)
https://doi.org/10.3390/min10040348

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

Invited Lectures: Wastewater & water treatment: good and bad
Speaker
7/10/2020
Honorary Senior Lecturer
Recipient
15/4/2020
Invited Lecture: Wastewater & water treatment: implications on antimicrobial resistance
Speaker
2/3/2020
Rajamangala University of Technology Krungthep
Visiting researcher
27/2/2020
Iqaluit, Nunavut - sampling expedition
Participant
6/8/2019
Antimicrobial resistance: what does the environment have to say
Speaker
5/2/2019

More professional activities

Projects

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
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
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
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

More projects

Address

Civil and Environmental Engineering
James Weir Building

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