Dr Charles Knapp


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Personal statement

Dr. Knapp is Director of Postgraduate Studies and Distance Learning,  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.


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
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) 


Electrochemical sensing of SARS-CoV-2 amplicons with PCB electrodes
Kumar M S, Nandeshwar Ruchira, Lad Shailesh B, Megha Kirti, Mangat Maheshwar, Butterworth Adrian, Knapp Charles W, Knapp Mara, Hoskisson Paul A, Corrigan Damion K, Ward Andrew C, Kondabagil Kiran, Tallur Siddharth
Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical Vol 343 (2021)
Climate change : any dangers from antimicrobial resistant bacteria?
Knapp Charles W, Turner Ronald, Salifu Emmanuel, Khan Sadia, Stillings Mark, Tonner Rebecca
Microbiomes and the Global Climate Change (2021) (2021)
The ecology and bioactivity of some Greco-Roman medicinal minerals : the case of Melos earth pigments
Knapp Charles, Christidis George, Venieri Danae, Gounaki Iosofina, Gibney-Vamvakari Julie, Stillings Mark, Photos-Jones Effie
Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences (2021)
Pharmaceuticals and personal care products' (PPCPs) impact on enriched nitrifying cultures
Lopez Carla, Nnorom Mac-Anthony, Tsang Yiu Fai, Knapp Charles W
Environmental Science and Pollution Research (2021)
Towards a general model for predicting minimal metal concentrations co-selecting for antibiotic resistance plasmids
Arya Sankalp, Williams Alexander, Vazquez Reina Saul, Knapp Charles W, Kreft Jan-Ulrich, Hobman Jon L, Stekel Dov J
Environmental Pollution Vol 275 (2021)
War, antimicrobial resistance, and Acinetobacter baumannii (WAMRA)
Abou Fayad A, El Diwachi O, Haraoui LP, Abu Sitta G, Nguyen V-K, Abbara A, Landecker H, Karah N, Knapp C, McEvoy M, Zamman M, Higgins P, Matar G
International Journal of Infectious Diseases Vol 101, pp. 87-88 (2020)

More publications


Management roles:

Courses taught:

  • Water & Wastewater Treatment Design (CL447 + CL978)
  • Principles of Environmental Microbiology (CL430 + CL948)
  • Pollution and the Rehabilitation of Degraded Ecosystems (CL431 + EV908)
  • Independent Study in Collaboration with Industry (CL973, contributor)


  • 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)

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

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
Rajamangala University of Technology Krungthep
Visiting researcher

More professional activities


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
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-2022
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


Civil and Environmental Engineering
James Weir Building

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