Professional summary

Research Interests

My background is in Soil and Water Science from the University of California at Riverside. I am a pollution scientist with an interest in understanding its effects on microbial ecology and ecosystem function in soil and water systems. In most cases, my research is leaning towards the 'applied' with a policy-relevant angle, such as the studies I've conducted into characterising the nature and effects of large-scale pharmaceutical use (e.g., antivirals such as Tamiflu, and antibiotics), during an influenza pandemic (1,2,3,4,5). Current research aims to better understand the drivers of antibiotic resistance in the environment and their implications to ecosystems and human health (1, 2, 3, 4). On-going research using in situ mesocosms (1) aims to empirically-determine the concentration of antibiotics that are having an undesirable impact on microbial ecology and antibiotic resistance selection in our rivers.  Project pages for AMR in the Environment research can be found here. I maintain activity in the field of wastewater epidemiology (1), which aims to understand human behaviour and health through the analysis of sewage, e.g., pathogen incidence and prevalence, drug compliance.

On-going Interests:

Wastewater-Based Epidemiology.  I lead the National COVID-19 Wastewater-Based Epidemiology Surveillance Programme, a NERC-funded project through the COVID-Rapid Response Call, to serve the national effort of using SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewater to inform the UK government response on cases of COVID-19 in the population. The project will determine the infectivity and persistance of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater and its persistence in environmental matrices. Modelling will link viral load to COVID-19 cases, while other modelling efforts will link infectious virus (if present) with hazard maps of UK water bodies. For more information about the team delivering this project, please see: . 

Since the start of 2021, I have served as the Chair of the Expert Advisory Group within the Home Office's Accelerated Capability Environment's Next-Generation Wastewater Analysis Programme (C215), helping to deliver an improved and future-facing WBE capability within the UK.

Antibiotic Pipeline.  There is a growing recognition that the research and development needed for novel antibiotics are too reliant on an industry that is not interested in delivering novel antibiotics. There is a need to 'reinvent the antibiotic research and development pipeline'. In a series of publications, we detail how nations can collaborate financially and technically on (inter)nationalising the pipeline for antibiotic R&D--public money for public good (1, 2, 3).

Citizen Science Monitoring.  I am working with the Rivers Trust on the formation of a UK Citizen Science River Monitoring Network. Citizen Scientists are ideally suited to fill the evidence gap created by declining water quality sampling intensity by the Environment Agency and can help apportion point (e.g., CSO and WWTP discharges) and diffuse (e.g., road runoff, agriculture, pasture) pollution sources across catchments, nationally. The network aims to leverage the shared interest of stakeholders for the collection of high-quality, validated water quality data at a national scale. A large national network would aim to catalyse innovation in industry and academia for the development of robust, low-cost, easy-to-use field monitoring kit that can support the growing aims and aspirations of the national network of citizen scientists as well as the needs of the stakeholders.

Brief CV

2001 – Present        UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

2018 – Present        Chair, Expert Advisory Committee, ACE C215 Next-Generation Wastewater Surveillance

2018 – Present        Honorary Research Fellow. Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Department of Parasitology

2017 – Present        Expert Committee: 2020 AMR Benchmark, Access to Medicine Foundation

2014 – Present        Editorial Board: PLOS One

2018 – 2021            Honorary Senior Research Fellow. School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Bristol

2009 – 2014            Senior Research Associate University of Oxford, Department of Zoology, UK

2008 – 2012            UK Scientific Pandemic Influenza Advisory Committee, Dame Sally Davies, Chair.

2008 – 2010            Visiting Lecturer, University of Oxford, Department of Zoology, UK

2005 – 2007            Honorary Lecturer. School of Geography, Earth & Enviro. Science, University of Birmingham

2004                       Visiting Lecturer. School of Biological and Molecular Sciences, Oxford Brookes University.


University of California, Riverside: PhD, Soil and Water Science, 2000

University of California, Berkeley: BA, Anthropology, 1992


Panels, committees and memberships