- Fran completed her PhD at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology-Oxford and King’s College London in the United Kingdom in 2008. Since then, she has worked at the Advanced Water Management Centre at the University of Queensland in Australia.
Fran’s interests lie in the broad area of microbial ecology, to understand the fundamentals of bacterial community structure and function, to evaluate the impacts of potentially toxic or inhibitory chemicals on bacterial communities and to harness mixed microbial systems for removing nutrients from wastewater and producing useful bioproducts. Her previous work has included investigating effects of mercuric chloride on plasmid-carrying resistant and plasmid-free sensitive bacterial populations (Slater et al 2008 http://ow.ly/3iHiP, Slater et al 2010 http://ow.ly/3iHi1) and also the more general problem of plasmid “survival” in the environment (Slater et al 2008). She has also investigated the roles of different clades of a phosphorus-accumulating bacteria, Candidatus “Accumulibacter phosphatis” (Slater et al 2010 http://ow.ly/3iHfV) and bacteriophage (Barr et al 2010 http://ow.ly/3iHc4) in enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) systems used to remove phosphorus from wastewater.
In her most recent research (Slater et al 2010 http://ow.ly/3iHba), she evaluated the effects of influenza-pandemic dosing of antibiotics and antivirals on activated sludge treating synthetic wastewater. There was little (between 2 and 41% removal per 6-h draw and fill cycle) removal of the antiviral, Oseltamivir (Tamiflu®), over the 8-week dosing period, in agreement with other studies that have suggested conservation of Oseltamivir through wastewater treatment systems. Also, there was no improvement in removal over the 8 weeks, suggesting that there was no adaptation of the community to degrade Oseltamivir. Changes in bacterial community structure and disruption to phosphorus removal and nitrification indicated the risk of destabilising wastewater treatment bacterial communities after influenza-pandemic dosing of antibiotics and antivirals.
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