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

We are always open to new prospective students and collaborations to reduce the spread of antibiotic resistance genes and bacteria through the environment. An example project is summarised at the following page:

Examples of Recent Funding

Microbial resource management and engineering in the urban water cycle: EU-FP7 – Marie Curie Initial Training Networks; £4.2M from 2013-2017, B Smets (PI) at DTU, with Graham and other CIs at Lisbon, Ghent & EAWAG

Demonstrating Low-energy Technology for De-centralised Waste Treatment around the World: Engineering Processes and Science Research Council (EPSRC, UK): £78,800 from 2014 to 2105

Global sustainable energy through China-UK research engagement: EPSRC: £484K from 2013-2014, T Roskilly (PI) with Graham and other CIs at Newcastle University

SECURE: Self conserving urban environments: EPSRC, £2.8M from 2010 to 2105, M Bell (PI) with Graham and other CIs at Newcastle, Loughborough, Exeter & Sheffield Universities

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

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

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