Professor Graeme Paton

Professor Graeme Paton
Professor Graeme Paton
Professor Graeme Paton

Chair in Biological Sciences, Head of School of Biological Sciences

Email Address
Telephone Number
+44 (0)1224 273834
Office Address
  • Room 2.22 Cruickshank Building
  • Room 2.12 Zoology Building



School of Biological Sciences

External Memberships


Research Overview

I study the relationship between pollutant speciation and toxicity. This considers the fate and transformation of environmental pollutants. This is done through the use of analytical chemical tools to study organism responses to pollutants. I am also enthused by the application and comparison of ecotoxicity assays to various environmental sample. I also use general research skills in soil microbiology and biochemistry. Specific areas of interest are:

  • Fate of inorganic/ organic pollutants in the environment
  • Development of bioassays to assess environmental toxicity
  • Chemical and biological techniques for environmental restoration
  • Soil genesis and classification and linkage to soil biology

Here is my lab

Research Areas

Biological and Environmental Sciences


Research Specialisms

  • Environmental Biotechnology
  • Environmental Sciences
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Soil Science
  • Applied Environmental Sciences

Our research specialisms are based on the Higher Education Classification of Subjects (HECoS) which is HESA open data, published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.

Current Research

Current Research Group

The current research group has several strands. Mostly the focus is on process level soil microbiology as a response to perturbations- mainly pollution. Biosensors are widely used to quantify and better understand these mpacts and to relate to the aspects of bioavailability. To an extent these enable sustainable solutions to be developed and bespoke risk assessment to be measured.

If you are interested in joining the group then have a think about the work that the current group and recently completed members have contributed.

Dr. Lenka Mbadugha complements the research team with her expertise in pollution monitoring, biosensor development and soil carbon dynamics. 

Rosie Boyko has completed her PhD studying the link between soil pH management and sward quality with reference to Scotland and food security. Thnayan Alonaizi is studying soil-based enzymes to devise recolonisation techniques in impacted soils. This bioaugmentation work is a new twist of remediation work with hydrocarbons that we have done in the past. He is also transplanting functional biomes back into soils. Onome Omovie-Stephen is applying techniques for carbon fractionation to contrastingly managed soils to try and develop techniques to better sequester soil carbon. The great challenge is to understand carbon partitioning and links to function and availability. 

Sapar Dossanov successfully defended his thesis: integrated approaches of risk and hazard assessment in current and historic metal mines. This work was further enhanced by Sandra Arroyo Sanchez who has upskilled the use of SEM and applied the risk assessment/ human exposure/ model approaches to Mexico. She aslo  successfully defended her PhD is Q1 of 2024- congratulations.

Alexander Kani is studying bioleaching of metal wastes as a process for elemental recovery in a sustainable manner. The focus is on critical elements and we have widened the scope from mine wastes to other matrices and are developing resin based systems for capture.  

Christoph Gade studies elemental cycling of mercury with a focus on marine sources and fate but extends this to wider geochemical concepts. The driver here is to truth test models that  have been established making use of specific analytical approaches. He has also established some effective and innovative ecotoxicological testing. 

Rita Moussa is a Hydro-Nation student and worked on anaerobic systems for the sustainable geeration of methane and hopefully hydrogen. She has submitted and successfully defended her PhD. 


Former Members of the Research Group

Dr. Aftab Majeed studied urban ecology with respect to planning challenges from a quantitative basis. He has recently relocated to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 

Dr. Barry Nourice studied the fragile status of soils in the Seychelles.  

Dr. Victor Igwe focussed on microbial processes in the production of bioethanols. This made use both of empirical and modelling approaches. 

Dr. Amira Alzadjali developed new elemental specific biosensors to update the current suite used by the group in environmental diagnostics.

Dr. Abubakar Yuguda devised methods to apply mycorrhizal enhanced maize plants in the remediation of soils impacted with effluents from the tannery industry.

Dr. Chisom Agunwoke developed biosensors for soil and sediment remediation.

Dr. Mouza Al Mansouri studied sustainable water storage in Abu Dhabi where she works as the Director in Spatial Data Analysis at the Environment Agency.

Dr. Saad Dehlawi completed his research using chemical additives to enhance mobility and complexation of pollutants as a strategic technique for land and water remediation.

Dr. Chidinma Anunike used CaSx with a specific focus on the consideration of hexavalent chromium transformation. 

Dr. Hedda Weitz, who developed a range of bacterial biosensors and the only effective fungal biolouminescence-based assay, oversees the smooth running of the microbial laboratory. Jamie Buckingham oversees the challenges of soils, environmental samples and chemical analysis within the group. 

Here is a tour of the facilities



Prof. Kirk Semple, Lancaster University


Teaching Responsibilities

Course Co-Coordinator 

  • Land Use and the Changing Environment

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  • Deployment of microbial biosensors to assess the performance of ameliorants in metal-contaminated soils

    Maletić, S. P., Watson, M. A., Dehlawi, S., Diplock, E. E., Mardlin, D., Paton, G. I.
    Water, Air and Soil Pollution, vol. 226, no. 4, 85
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • The potential of microbial processes for lignocellulosic biomass conversion to ethanol: a review

    Dionisi, D., Anderson, J., Aulenta, F., McCue, A., Paton, G. I.
    Journal of Chemical Technology & Biotechnology, vol. 90, no. 3, pp. 366-383
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Effects of hydrocarbon contamination on soil microbial community and enzyme activity

    Alrumman, S. A., Standing, D. B., Paton, G. I.
    Journal of King Saud University - Science, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 31-41
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Use of microbial cultures for bioethanol production from lignocellulosic wastes

    Dionisi, D., Igwe, V., Paton, G. I.
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Conference Proceedings
  • Carcinogenicity assessment using biosensors: Mitomycin-C as a case study

    Alhadrami, H. A., Paton, G. I.
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Conference Proceedings
  • Deployment of microbial sensors to assess zinc bioavailability and toxicity in soils

    Maderova, L., Paton, G. I.
    Soil Biology and Biochemistry, vol. 66, pp. 222-228
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • The potential applications of SOS-lux biosensors for rapid screening of mutagenic chemicals

    Alhadrami, H. A., Paton, G. I.
    FEMS Microbiology Letters, vol. 344, no. 1, pp. 69-76
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Application of Microbial Biosensors to Complement Geochemical Characterisation:: a Case Study in Northern China

    Zhang, B., Qiao, M., Liu, Y., Zheng, Y., Zhu, Y., Paton, G. I.
    Water, Air and Soil Pollution, vol. 224, no. 2, pp. 1-16
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Remediation of 2,4-dichlorophenol contaminated water by visible light-enhanced WO3 photoelectrocatalysis

    Scott-Emuakpor, E. O., Kruth, A., Todd, M. J., Raab, A., Paton, G. I., Macphee, D. E.
    Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, vol. 123-124, pp. 433-439
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • The biodegradation of cable oil components: impact of oil concentration, nutrient addition and bioaugmentation

    Towell, M. G., Paton, G. I., Semple, K. T.
    Environmental Pollution, vol. 159, no. 12, pp. 3777-3783
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
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Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings

Contributions to Journals