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Florence Mui Choo Jong

Low cost and localised wastewater treatment for reducing antimicrobial resistance (AMR).


Project title

Fate of antibiotic resistance genes and bacteria under sequential redox conditions within biofilm reactors


  • School of Engineering: Prof David Graham
  • Centre for Molecular Cell Biology: Prof Colin Harwood
  • AstraZeneca: Prof Jason Snape

Project description

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major health threat to global populations. Particularly, mortal infections are most profound in Low-Middle-Income Countries (LMICs). In these countries, wastewater treatment is not universal and rarely precedes urbanisation. We need to reverse the present trend of increasing global AMR. Reducing waste- and water-borne AMR exposure through improved wastewater treatment is a high priority. Few economical technologies are available for application in LMICs.

But we need to increase local wastewater treatment in regions with limited civil infrastructure. Thus, we will use smaller-scale technical options to curb AMR release, its exposures and spread across the environment.

This PhD develops and assesses a novel low-energy treatment option. It is ideally suited for treating domestic wastewater at smaller scales. This technology is biofilm-based with a sponge-core. It purifies wastewater through sequential redox steps (aerobic-anoxic) and hydraulic schemes. It effectively removes primary organic pollutants. Sequential redox exposures may also be effective at mitigating AMR genes (ARG) and bacteria (ARB) spread. As new designs evolve, the technology will translate to real-world scenarios. These include decentralised wastewater treatment in LMICs and other AMR hotspots.



I love playing netball and used to be a goalkeeper for the Sarawak State team, Malaysia. I feel strongly about animal welfare and had rescued one homeless dog and six cats. I spent time volunteering at the animal shelter to do cleaning up and walked the dogs. I have become personally interested in plastic waste issues. I think that relating plastic pollution to public health may attract increasing response to overcoming the issue.


BSc (Hons), MSc