Professor David Graham
Professor of Environmental Engineering

  • Email:
  • Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7930
  • Fax: +44 (0) 191 208 6502
  • Address: School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences
    Room 3.04
    Cassie Building
    Newcastle University
    Newcastle upon Tyne
    NE1 7RU


Engineering microbiology often relies on pseudo-theory in the development of descriptive and design tools; however, such methods rarely describe real systems with consistancy. Our work combines methods from engineering, theoretical ecology, mathematics, biochemistry, and molecular biology to solve problems in environmental engineering at a fundamental level. Research topics include biological waste treatment, ecotoxicology, bioremediation, and the environmental fate and impacts of trace and genetic contaminants. Current research projects includes 1) the transmisson, fate and impact of antibiotic resistance genes in the environment resulting from human activity; 2) energy minimization in water, wastewater and solid waste management systems; 3) the microbiology and ecology of greenhouse gas suppression and productiuon in geochemical settings, especially in Polar regions; and 4) water and environmental quality in the developing and emerging world.


1992 PhD - University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
1981 MASc - University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
1977 BASc - University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada


1992 PhD - University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
1981 MASc - University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
1977 BASc - University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Previous Positions

2006-2009 Professor, University of Kansas, USA
2001 Visiting Fellow, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK
1999-2006 Associate Professor, University of Kansas, USA
1992-1999 Assistant Professor, University of Kansas, USA
1987-1992 Research Assistant/Associate, University of Arizona, USA
1985-1987 Instructor, Coordinator of Water Resources Option
Civil Engineering Technology, BCIT, Burnaby, CA
1979-1987 Design Engineer/Project Engineer/Contract Consultant, Sigma Resource Consultants, Vancouver, Canada


Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC (lapsed)
Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry

Honours and Awards

Adjunct Professor - University of Kansas (Department of Geology)

Research Interests

Environmental engineering
Applied microbiology
Applied biochemistry
Ecological theory in environmental engineering

Current Work

Biogeochemistry and in situ methane oxidation
Fate and migration of antibiotic resistance genes and organisms in receiving waters and sediments
Energy minimization of industrial and domestic waste treatment
Engineering biology and non-linear dynamics
Biogeography of functional genes in nutrient-cycling in urban landscapes

New Research Opportunities on Antibiotic Resistance

New research opportunities are available in Autumn 2013 related to our new ITN research project, MERMAID. Project details can be found at (

My personal project (see ESR02 on the above webpage) will study the kinetics of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) for antibiotic resistance (AR) transmission in peripheral biofilms and flocs in waste treatment units. The project will specifically quantify HGT rates and mechanisms in wastewater biofilms and develop numerical models for predicting HGT across broader systems. This project is well suited to individuals interested in the mechanisms and genetics of HGT, especially related to AR. Preference will be given to individuals with experience in molecular microbiological methods, especially linking bacteriology, metagenomics and numerical methods.


Role of methanobactin in methane oxidation rates in the presence of mineral copper: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC): £581,763 from Mar 2008 to Feb 2011

ENERMIN - Energy-Use Minimization in Residuals Management in the Personal Care Product Industry; Commission of the European Communities (EU - FP7); £194,000 from August 2008 to July 2012

General and unifying concepts for wastewater treatment plant design; Engineering Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC); £774,525 from Feb 2008 to Jan 2013

Linking the fundamental concepts of sediment pollution remediation and ecotoxicity for improved engineering designs; Engineering Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC); £37,161 from Oct 2007 to Jul 2008

ECOSERV - Designed Ecosystem Services for Biological Treatment; Commission of the European Communities (EU - FP6); £1,108,860 from Apr 2006 to Mar 2010

Postgraduate Teaching

CEG8105 - Solid Waste Management
CEG8110 - Practical Hydraulics