School of Engineering

Staff Profile

Professor Catherine Biggs

Prof of Chemical Engineering


Prof of Chemical Engineering and Associate Dean for Strategic Projects

I am an environmental engineer with cross-disciplinary research interests, incorporating a range of analytical approaches (biological, physical and chemical), and experimental length scales (laboratory systems to field sites) to engineer biofilm formation, predominantly, but not exclusively within the urban water environment. My strategy is to develop fundamental understanding of biofilm processes, which aims to help address Industry and community needs, through the application of leading edge experimental techniques, with process engineering knowledge. 


Roles and Responsibilities

Associate Dean of Strategic Projects


PhD in Chemical Engineering (The University of Queensland, Australia, 2000)

BEng in Environmental Engineering (with Hons) (The University of Queensland, 1995)

Previous Positions

  • 2010 - 2018 Professor, University of Sheffield, UK
  • 2009 - 2010 Reader, University of Sheffield, UK
  • 2007 - 2008 Senior Lecturer, University of Sheffield, UK
  • 2001 - 2006 Lecturer, University of Sheffield, UK
  • 2000 - 2001 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Sheffield, UK


I successfully lead and managed collaborative projects with a broad skills base of investigators including chemical, civil and environmental engineers, microbiologists and social scientists. I was an EPSRC Advanced Research Fellow (09/2007 – 08/2012). I am a strong advocate for cross disciplinary research with a broad funding base across UK Research Councils, (BBSRC and EPSRC), as well as EU and UK Charities and Industry throughout my research career.

Research Interests

  • Fundamental biofilm formation and stability
  • Engineering biofilms within urban water systems rather than just focusing on removal
  • FatBergs
  • Tailored technologies for urban water systems

Current Projects

  • UKCRIC: National Water Infrastructure Facility: Distributed Water Infrastructure. (EPSRC)
  • TWENTY 65: Tailored Water Solutions for Positive Impact. EPSRC
  • SCARAB - Sheffield Collaboratorium for Antimicrobial Resistance And Biofilms


CME8037     Sustainable Design and Manufacture


  • Song WX, Muthana M, Mukherjee J, Falconer RJ, Biggs CA, Zhao XB. Magnetic-Silk Core-Shell Nanoparticles as Potential Carriers for Targeted Delivery of Curcumin into Human Breast Cancer Cells. ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering 2017, 3(6), 1027-1038.
  • Pollard PC, Steffens MA, Biggs CA, Lant PA. Bacterial Growth Dynamics in Activated Sludge Batch Assays. Water Research 1998, 32(3), 587-596.
  • Biggs CA, Lant PA. Activated Sludge Flocculation: On-line Determination of Floc Size and the Effect of Shear. Water Research 2000, 34(9), 2452-2550.
  • Biggs CA, Lant PA. Activated Sludge Flocculation: Direct Determination of the Effect of Calcium Ions. Water Science and Technology 2001, 43(11), 75-82.
  • Nopens I, Biggs CA, De Clercq B, Govoreanu R, Wilen BM, Lant PA, Vanrolleghem PA. Modelling the activated sludge flocculation process combining laser diffraction particle sizing and Population Balance Modelling (PBM). Water Science and Technology 2002, 45(6), 41-49.
  • Biggs CA, Lant PA. Modelling Activated Sludge Flocculation Using Population Balances. Powder Technology 2002, 124(3), 201-211.
  • Salman AD, Biggs CA, Fu J, Angyal I, Hounslow MJ. An Experimental Investigation of Particle Fragmentation using Single Particle Impact Studies. Powder Technology 2002, 128(1), 36-46.
  • Biggs CA, Lant PA, Hounslow MJ. Modelling the Effect of Shear History on Activated Sludge Flocculation. Water Science and Technology 2003, 47(11), 251-257.
  • Biggs CA, Sanders C, Scott AC, Willemse AW, Hoffman AC, Intone T, Hounslow MJ. Coupling Granule Properties and Granule Rates in High Shear Granulation. Powder Technology 2003, 130(1-3), 162-168.
  • Reynolds GK, Biggs CA, Salman AD, Hounslow MJ. Non-uniformity of binder distribution in high-shear granulation. Powder Technology 2004, 140(3), 203-208.
  • Eboigbodin KE, Newton JR, Routh AF, Biggs CA. Role of non-adsorbing polymers in bacterial aggregation. Langmuir 2005, 21(26), 12315-12319.
  • Biggs CA, Prall C, Tait S, Ashley RM. Investigating the Effect of Storm Events on the Particle Size Distribution in a Combined Sewer Simulator. Water and Science Technology 2005, 52(3), 129-136.
  • Bayley RW, Biggs CA. Evaluation of the jet pump scrubber as a novel approach for soil remediation. Process Safety and Environmental Protection 2005, 83(4), 381-386.
  • Salman AD, Reynolds GK, Fu JS, Cheong YS, Biggs CA, Adams MJ, Gorham AD, Hounslow MJ. Descriptive Classification Summary of the Impact Failure Form of Spherical Particles. Wear 2005, 258(1), 580-587.
  • Bayley RW, Biggs CA. Characterisation of an attrition scrubber for the removal of high molecular weight contaminants in sand. Chemical Engineering Journal 2005, 111(1), 71-79.
  • Bayley RW, Biggs CA. Remediation of contaminated media using a jet pump Part 2. Remediation dynamics of significant parameters in the jet pump remediation process. Chemical Engineering Journal 2006, 118(1-2), 55-62.
  • Bayley RW, Biggs CA. Remediation of contaminated media using a jet pump Part 1. Screening for significant parameters. Chemical Engineering Journal 2006, 118(3), 221-231.
  • Ding A, Hounslow MJ, Biggs CA. Population Balance Modelling of Activated Sludge Flocculation: Investigating the size dependence of aggregation, breakage and collision efficiency. Chemical Engineering Science 2006, 61(1), 63-74.
  • Eboigbodin KE, Newton JRA, Routh AF, Biggs CA. Bacterial quorum sensing and cell surface electrokinetic properties. Journal of Applied Micorbiology and Biotechnology 2006, 73(3), 669-675.
  • Eboigbodin KE, Ojeda JJ, Biggs CA. Investigating the surface properties of Escherichia coli under glucose controlled conditions and its effect on aggregation. langmuir 2007, 23(12), 6691-6697.
  • Pandhal J, Wright PC, Biggs CA. A quantitative proteomic analysis of light adaptation in a globally significant marine cyanobacterium. Journal of Proteome 2007, 6(3), 996-1005.
  • Geoghegan M, Andrews JA, Biggs CA, Eboigbodin KE, Elliott DR, Rolfe S, Scholes J, Ojeda JJ, Romero-González EE, Brown DJ, Edyvean RGJ, Swanson L, Rutkaite R, Fernando R, Pen Y, Zhang S, Banwart SA. The polymer physics and chemistry of microbial cell attachment and adhesion. Royal Society of Chemistry 2008, 139, 85-103.
  • Pandhal J, Wright PC, Biggs CA. Proteomics with a pinch of salt: a cyanobacteria perspective. Journal of Aquatic Biosystems 2008, 4(1).
  • Liaqat I, Bachmann RT, Sabri AN, Edyvean RGJ, Biggs CA. Investigating the effect of patulin, penicillic acid and EDTA on biofilm formation of isolates from dental unit water lines. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 2008, 81(2), 349-358.
  • Eboigbodin KE, Biggs CA. Characterisation of the Extracellular polymeric substances produced by Escherichia coli using Infra red spectroscopic, proteomic and aggregation studies. Journal of Biomacromolecules 2008, 9(2), 686-695.
  • Eboigbodin KE, Seth A, Biggs CA. A review of biofilms in domestic plumbing. Journal of American Water Works Association 2008, 100(10), 131-138.
  • Pandhal J, Snijders APL, Wright PC, Biggs CA. A Cross-Species Quantitative Proteomic Study of Salt Adaptation in a Halotolerant Environmental Isolate using 15N Metabolic Labelling. Journal of Proteomics 2008, 8(11), 2266-2284.
  • Pandhal J, Noirel J, Wright PC, Biggs CA. A systems biology approach to investigate the response of Synechocystis sp. PCC6803 to a high salt environment. Aquatic Biosystems 2009, 5(8).
  • Mukherjee J, Ow SY, Noirel J, Biggs CA. Quantitative protein expression and cell surface characteristics of Escherichia coli MG1655 biofilms. Proteomics 2010, 11(3), 339-351.
  • Biggs CA, Olaley OI, Jeanmeure LFC, Deines P, Jensen HS, Tait SJ, Wright PC. Effect of temperature on the substrate utilisation profiles of microbial communities in different sewer sediments. Journal of Environmental Technology 2010, 32(2), 133-144.
  • Fuszard M, Wright PC, Biggs CA. Cellular Acclimation Strategies of a Minimal Picocyanobacterium to Phosphate Stress. Microbiology Letters 2010, 306(2), 127-134.
  • Deines P, Sekar R, Jensen HS, Tait S, Boxall JB, Osborn AM, Biggs CA. An interdisciplinary approach to study microbial communities in urban water systems. Drinking Water Engineering and Science 2010, 3, 91-99.
  • Deines P, Sekar R, Husband S, Boxall JB, Osborn AM, Biggs CA. A new coupon design for simultaneous analysis of in situ microbial biofilm formation and community structure in drinking water distribution systems. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 2010, 87(2), 749-756.
  • Karunakaran E, Biggs CA. Understanding the mechanisms of Bacillus cereus biofilm formation: an investigation of the physicochemical characteristics of cell surfaces and extracellular proteins. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 2011, 89(4), 1161-1175.
  • Noirel J, Evans C, Salim M, Mukherjee J, Ow SY, Pandhal J, Pham TK, Biggs CA, Wright PC. Methods in quantitative proteomics: Setting iTRAQ on the right track. Current Proteomics 2011, 8(1), 17-30.
  • Mukherjee J, Karunakaran E, Biggs CA. Using a multi-faceted approach to determine the changes in cell surface properties influenced by a biofilm lifestyle. The Journal of Bioadhesion and Biofilm Research 2011.
  • Koerdt A, Orell A, Pham TK, Mukherjee J, Wlodkowski A, Biggs CA, Wright PC, Albers SV. Macromolecular fingerprinting of Sulfolobus species in biofilm: a transcriptomic and proteomic approach combined with spectroscopy analysis. Journal of Proteome 2011, 10(9), 4105-4119.
  • Karunakaran E, Mukherjee J, Ramalingan B, Biggs CA. "Biofilmology": A multidisciplinary review of the study of microbial biofilms. Journal of Applied Micorbiology and Biotechnology 2011, 90(6), 1869-1881.
  • Peter S, Evans C, Ow SY, Scutt AM, Wright PC, Biggs CA. Proteomic analysis of the impact of static culturing on the expansion of rat bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells. Biotechnology Letters 2012, 34(8), 1589-1596.
  • Deepika G, Karunakaran E, Hurley CR, Biggs CA, Charalampopoulos D. Influence of fermentation conditions on the surface properties and adhesion of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG. Microbial Cell Factories 2012, 11(116).
  • Fuszard MA, Wright PC, Biggs CA. Comparative quantitative proteomics of Prochlorococcus ecotypes to a decrease in environmental phosphate concentrations. Aquatic Biosystems 2012, 8(7).
  • Sekar R, Deines P, Machell J, sborn AM, Biggs CA, Boxall JB. Bacterial water quality and network hydraulic characteristics: a preliminary field study of a small, looped water distribution system using culture independent molecular methods. Journal of Applied Microbiology 2012.
  • Evans C, Noirel J, Ow SY, Salim M, Pereira-Medrano AG, Couto N, Pandhal J, Smith D, Pham TK, Karunakaran E, Zou X, Biggs CA, Wright PC. An insight into iTRAQ: where do we stand now?. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry 2012, 404(4), 1011–1027.
  • Peter S, Scutt AM, Wright PC, Biggs CA. Comparative study of the in vitro expansion of bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells. Biotechnology Letters 2013, 35(3), 463-469.
  • Ellis K, Ryan B, Templeton MR, Biggs CA. Bacteriological Water Quality Compliance and Root Cause Analysis: An Industry Case Study. Water Supply 2013, 13, 1034-1045.
  • Ramalingam B, Sekar R, Boxall JB, Biggs CA. Aggregation and biofilm formation of bacteria isolated from domestic drinking water. Water Supply 2013, 13(4).
  • Ellis K, Mounce S, Ryan B, Templeton MR, Biggs CA. Use of on-line water quality monitoring data to predict bacteriological failures. Procedia Engineering 2014, 70, 612-621.
  • Douterelo I, Deines P, Boxall JB, Sekar R, Fish KE, Biggs CA. Methodological approaches for studying the microbial ecology of drinking water distribution systems. Water Research 2014, 65, 134-156.
  • Hanotu J, Karunakaran E, Bandulasena H, Biggs CA, Zimmerman WBJ. Harvesting and Dewatering Yeast by Microflotation. Biochemical Engineering Journal 2014, 85, 174-182.
  • Ellis K, Mounce SR, Ryan B, Biggs CA, Templeton MR. Improving root cause analysis of bacteriological water quality failures at water treatment works. Procedia Engineering 2015, 119, 309-318.
  • Abdul-Majeed WS, Karunakaran E, Biggs CA, Zimmerman WBJ. Development of wastewater treatment system based on cascade dielectric barrier discharge plasma atomizers. Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A 2015, 50(12), 1249-1258.
  • Sharpe RL, Biggs CA, Boxall JB. Hydraulic conditioning to manage potable water discolouration. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Water Management 2017, 172(1), 3-13.
  • Naylor J, Fellermann H, Ding Y, Mohammed W, Jakubovics N, Mukherjee J, Biggs C, Wright P, Krasnogor N. Simbiotics: A Multiscale Integrative Platform for 3D Modeling of Bacterial Populations. ACS Synthetic Biology 2017, 6(7), 1194-1210.
  • Nguyen V, Karunakaran E, Collins G, Biggs CA. Physicochemical analysis of initial adhesion and biofilm formation of Methanosarcina barkeri on polymer support material. Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces 2016, 143, 518-525.
  • Ellis K, Gowdy C, Jakomis N, Ryan B, Thom C, Biggs C, Speight V. Understanding the costs of investigating coliform and E. coli detections during routine drinking water quality monitoring. Urban Water Journal 2017, 15(2), 101-108.
  • Karunakaran E, Vernon D, Biggs CA, Saul AJ, Crawford D, Jensen H. Enumeration of sulphate reducing bacteria for assessing potential for hydrogen sulphide production in urban drainage systems. Water Science and Technology 2016, 73(12), 3087-3094.
  • Jensen H, Sekar R, Shepherd WJ, Osborn AM, Tait S, Biggs CA. Spatial and temporal variability of bacterial communities within a combined sewer system. Microbiology Open 2016, 5(4), 616-625.
  • Jensen HS, Biggs CA, Karunakaran E. The importance of sewer biofilms. Wires Water 2016, 3(4), 487-494.
  • Raut MP, Karunakaran E, Mukherjee J, Biggs CA, Wright PC. Influence of Substrates on the Surface Characteristics and Membrane Proteome of Fibrobacter succinogenes S85. PLoS ONE 2015, 10(10), e0141197.
  • Amezaga JM, Amtmann A, Biggs CA, Bond T, Gandy CJ, Honsbein A, Karunakaran E, Lawton L, Madsen MA, Minas K, Templeton MR. Biodesalination: a case study for applications of photosynthetic bacteria in water treatment. Plant Physiology 2014, 164(4), 1661-1676.
  • Minas K, Karunakaran E, Bond T, Gandy C, Honsbein A, Madsen M, Amezaga J, Amtmann A, Templeton MR, Biggs CA, Lawton L. Biodesalination: an emerging technology for targeted removal of Na+ and Cl- from seawater by cyanobacteria. Desalination and Water Treatment 2014, 55(10), 2647-2668.
  • Fuszard MA, Ow SY, Gan CS, Noirel J, Ternan NG, McMullan G, Biggs CA, Reardon KF, Wright PC. The quantitative proteomic response of Synechocystis sp. PCC6803 to phosphate acclimation. Aquatic Biosystems 2013, 9, 5.
  • Pandhal J, Ow SY, Wright PC, Biggs CA. Comparative Proteomics Study of Salt Tolerance between a Nonsequenced Extremely Halotolerant Cyanobacterium and Its Mildly Halotolerant Relative Using in vivo Metabolic Labeling and in vitro Isobaric Labeling. Journal of Proteome Research 2009, 8(2), 818–828.