Professor Graeme Paton

Professor Graeme Paton

Head of School of Biological Sciences

Professor Graeme Paton
Professor Graeme Paton

Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 273834
The University of Aberdeen Room 2.22 Cruickshank Building/ Zoology 2.12
Web Links





Research Interests

Study of the relationship between pollutant speciation and toxicity. Fate and transformation of environmental pollutants. Use of analytical chemical tools to study organism responses to pollutants. Application and comparison of ecotoxicity assays to environmental sample. General 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 soil Remediation
  • Soil genesis and classification and linkage to soil biology

Current Research

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 impacts 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 interesting in joining the group then have a think about the work that the current group and recently completed members have contributed. 

Dr. Bo Zhang has recently completed working with sensors in a range of soil types devising novel deployment techniques both for pollution monitoring and soils for food security purposes. We are also working on soils from a long term experiment in Hartwood where metal sludges were applied two decades ago. This is developing further from the publications of Dr. Lenka (Maderova) Mbadugha in recent years who integrated elemental speciation and biosensor response. Lenka is still publishing her findings and we are linking environmental monitoring to human exposure. 

Dr. Leigh Cassidy, runs the exciting and challenging spin-out company EPONA Technologies Limited developed through Scottish Enterprise funded Proof of Concept Programme related to remediating waste and groundwaters ( In May 2012, the company installed their first full scale operational system which is working to plan and proving cost effective and more than compliant with environmental guidance.

Rajendra Uprety has completed work that focussed on fundamental aspects of soil sustainability and soil husbandry. Underpinning this work is the factors that change cation exchange capacity a measurement that we all take for granted yet it is as essentail to characterise today as it has always been. Anastasia Fountouli is studying the relationship between soil pH and the potential impacts on soil physical parameters and whether this may be mediated by microbial or physicochemical drivers. These researchers highlight the importance of looking at fundamental soil processes in the context of enhanced food security and production. Barry Nourice is looking at the fragile status of soils in the Seychelles.  Victor Igbwe is making use of microbial processes for the production of bioethanols. This makes use both of emperical and modelling approaches. 

Mouza Al Mansouri has been considering sustainable water storage in Abu Dhabi where she works as the Manager in Spatial Data Analysis at the Environment Agency. Aftab Majeed is considering the challenges of quantifying urban ecology with respect to planning challenges from a quantitive basis. 

Dr. Ogo Iroakasi finished her thesis on the production and application of microbial biosurfactants. This was applicable both to enhanced oil recovery and bioremediation. While Ogo was characterising and optimising the performance and potential value, Chisom Agunwoke is developing their role in soil and sediment remediation. Lynne Copland has compared these biosurfactants with synthetic materials. Mary Allagoa is using fagacity and QRA strategies to relate hydrocarbon fate and impact in the environment. Emmanuel Awulu is develping and comparing a range of mutagenic assays (microbal and human cell type) to devise rapid screening tests for ecotoxicology applications. 

Sapar Dossanov is looking at integrated approaches of risk and hazard assessment in current and historic metal mines. Amira Alzadjali is developing new elemental specific biosensors to update the current suite used by the group in environmental diagnostics. 

Abubakar Yuguda is devising methods to apply mycorrhizal enhanced maize plants in the remediation of soils impacted with effluents from the tannery industry. He spends his time both in Aberdeen and in Nigeria. 

Dr. Alex Laurie completed here thesis developing a suite of ecotoxicity (microbial) assays that can effectively integrate with nano-particles (NP). The particular interest relates to silver and copper based materials.  Mohammed Alotaibi is researching the role of buffering agents and the physical shape and size of NP in terms of ecotoxicology.

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. His main strand was on the novel use of calcium polysulphides. Dr. Chidinma Anunike used CaSx with a specific focus on the consideration of hexavalent chromium transformation. 

Dr. Wei Ma completed her thesis with the successful development of a system for solid phase application of biosensors by comparing detailed analytical chemistry with biological responses. Dr. Sarah Sinebe developed and applied the decision support tools for remediation that have microbial biosensors as a key component in decision making. This work was initiated by Dr. Liz Diplock and further defined by Dr. Hugh Addlesse who worked at Remedios.

Liz Diplock, Mohammed Al Awadi, Karen Rodgers, Bo Zhang, Sulaiman Alrumman, Bill Cowie, Eva Budde, Hani Alhadrami, Izz Musarati, Hashim Alzahrany and Efe Scott-Emuakpor have all finished their PhD programmes in recent years.

Dr. Hedda Weitz, who developed a range of bacterial biosensors and the only effective fungal biolouminescence-based assay, oversees the smooth running of the laboratory very effectively. 


Prof. Kirk Semple, Lancaster University


Teaching Responsibilities


Course Co-Coordinator 

Remediation Technology

Landuse on Deeside

Further Info

External Responsibilities

Director- Remedios Limited

Editorial Board for Soil Biology and Biochemistry

Editorial Board for Water Air Soil Pollution


Remedios is a University of Aberdeen spin-out company ( based in County Durham. The company develops and applies technologies for the sustainable remediation of contaminated land and waters.  Remedios also carries out environmental risk assessment and designs waste management strategies. Graeme is a co-founder of the organisation in 1998.

Epona Technologies

Epona Technologies has the licence to use DRAM (a patented technology using a whisky by-product for the treatment of contaminated waters). It is a limited company and has applied the technology internationally since 2012.  



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