Contact Dr Ana Soares

Areas of expertise


Dr Soares  holds a MEng in Biotechnology Engineering from Algarve University (Portugal) and a PhD in Environmental Engineering from Lund University (Sweden) (2001-2005) with a project entitled “Biodegradation of the Recalcitrant Endocrine Disruptor Nonylphenol”. Her PhD formed part of national research program COLDREM (Soil Remediation in Cold Climate) and was supported by MISTRA (Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research) and the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology.

Current activities

Dr. Ana Soares is a Senior Lecturer in Biological Engineering at Cranfield Water Science Institute, Cranfield University (Bedfordshire, UK) that has developed her academic career with the aim to become an expert on the behaviour and manipulation of bacterial communities under dynamic conditions, leading to new technologies for optimisation of wastewater treatment or new valuable product recovery.  Dr Soares current research interests centre on bioengineering applied to wastewater treatment, focussing on:

 1) development of new technologies -  Dr Soares research explores the underpinning science required to understand how to develop and manage bioreactors employing new biological organisms, cultures or pathways. The current focus relates to the utilisation of bacteria that directly precipitate phosphorus as part of their biochemical pathways and hence offer an exciting opportunity for enhanced phosphorus removal and recovery as a product (e.g. bio-struvite and calcium phosphate).

2) adaptation of existing processes to enhance biological activity. Improvement of wastewater treatment processes can also be completed by gaining a deeper understanding of existing processes to ensure process optimisation. Dr Soares currently supervises projects on the methodologies to enrich microbial communities with capability to biodegrade hazardous pollutants by modifying the normal design and operation of activated sludge process in order to improve treatment of coke making wastewaters as well as investigating the impact of carrier media design on the diversity and function of microbial communities to improve the performance of mobile biological attached growth systems.

3) using established bacterial communities in new applications. This is a high impact research area that aims at investigating the application of well-known microbial communities - such as anaerobic flocculent and granular sludge – for integration in new bioreactor designs/configurations.

4) Sensor development. Dr Soares has been working on the development of sensors as a means to optimise the biological processes in wastewater treatment, specifically a biosensor for the determination of volatile fatty acids in digesters and fermented sludge and a sensor that measures phosphate in wastewater streams in the laboratory and real-time, with planned commercialisation stage in late 2016.


  • Yorkshire Water
  • Anglian Water
  • Severn Trent
  • Environmental Agency
  • Warden Biomedia
  • Huntsman Chemicals
  • ConocoPhillips
  • Tata Steel
  • NERC
  • Technology Strategy Board


Articles In Journals