School of Engineering

Staff Profile

Dr Andrew Zealand

Research Associate



I’m a self-motivated environmental engineer with over a decade’s worth of work experience in field and laboratory positions. I’m passionate about research, especially when it comes to biological treatment systems and how they can be used to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

I’ve always had an interest in the interactions between what we do as humans and the environment, particularly how we can negatively affect it and our health. I’ve gradually moved from an ecological point of view at the landscape scale to the microbial ecology level via biogas optimisation. The science and technologies we continue to use and champion for wastewater and water treatment are resource hungry (i.e., energy, carbon, nitrogen) and emit huge amounts of greenhouse gases through the process. I think the use of biological systems, in conjunction with their chemical parameters, will provide solutions to many world problems; namely, wastewater energy use and safe water.

I enjoy contributing to a wide range of teaching venues form traditional classrooms to laboratory and field settings to both formal and informal seminars and workshops. Working with students continually brings a fresh viewpoint to what I do and keeps me on my toes.

Before joining the University, my worked encompassed ecology, waste, and river pollution for TNEI and Gardiner and Theobald consultancies, Durham Wildlife Trust and the Environment Agency. I maintain close contact with my previous employers and work colleagues, while developing new networks within the UK water industry as well as globally.



Google Scholar:


Current Work

Currently, I co-lead a collaborative project with partners in Malaysia to improve community health through sustainable, decentralised wastewater treatment of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Inadequate small-scale wastewater treatment, such as septic tanks used by many rural Malaysians, has led to suburban and rural water environments in SE Asia being generally poor. Our research is contributing to reducing the spread of AMR in waterbodies in Malaysia by guiding wastewater management approaches. In academic terms, the work will not only produce UK-Malaysia collaborative manuscripts based on yearlong and shorter intensive sampling regimes but also on multidrug resistance. Our work in discovering these results has huge potential to save the lives of millions of people in the developed and developing world.


I’m working on a project comparing gut microbial ecology of undernourished patients and their levels of antibiotic resistant bacteria. In addition, I’m working with colleagues at York University on the impact of irrigating crops with wastewater containing different levels of AMR bacteria has on soil biota.



  • Newcastle University, Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia, and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia: a decentralised wastewater study to understand and reduce the proliferation and release of antibiotic resistance through innovative wastewater treatment (2018-ongoing).
  • Newcastle University and York University: 16S analyses and HT-qPCR analyses of complex datasets based on antibiotic resistance genes (2018-ongoing).
  • UK’s ‘SUPERGEN’ Bioenergy Hub and International Rice research Institution (IRRI): the Rice Straw Project (2013 - 2016).



PhD in Environmental Engineering, ‘Microbial Community Dynamics and Operational Performance in Rice Straw Anaerobic Digestion (Newcastle University, 2018)

MSc in Environmental Engineering (Newcastle University, 2010)

BSc (Hons) in Geography and Environmental Management (Northumbria University, 2008)


Research Interests

  • Antimicrobial resistance: Drivers, environmental exposures and mitigation
  • Links between environmental quality and public health in the developing world
  • Low-energy water and wastewater treatment technologies
  • Microbial genetics and environmental biotechnology
  • Polar microbiology and genetics

Current Work

  • Ecology and genetics of antibiotic genes and bacteria in wastewater treatment processes
  • Antibiotic resistance and infectious disease fate in surface waters in rural SE Asia
  • Modelling antibiotic resistance migration and fate in developing countries
  • Bioenergy production from rice straw and other refractory wastes
  • Microbial and functional biogeography of High Arctic ecosystems



Postgraduate Teaching

  • CEG8198: MSc Project and Dissertation in Environmental Engineering (Project/Dissertation Supervisor)
  •         MSc Environmental Engineering Lead Demonstrator (2013 - 2017) including:

    • Core Concepts in Environmental Engineering
    • Introduction to Practical Hydraulics
    • Water Supply and Treatment
    • Wastewater Engineering
    • Solid Waste Management
    • Environmental Engineering for Developing Countries
    • Environmental Engineering Design and Project Management
    • Project Skills and Professional Development
    • Air Pollution

Undergraduate Teaching

  •     Pharmacy Demonstrator (2018 - 2019) including:

    • Basic Microbiology
    • Aseptic Technique
    • Ubiquity and isolation of microbes
    • Basic bacteria identification and isolation