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Staff - Biology & Conservation Ecology

Dr Mike Dempsey

Applied microbiologist, with interests in applications of expanded and fluidized bed biofilm reactor (EBBR) technology. This technology is currently being applied to wastewater treatment but is also applicable to raw water treatment, fermentation, and biocatalysis.

Professional Activities

  • Member, Water Environment Federation (2011-present)
  • Member, Society for Applied Microbiology (2008-present)
  • Member, International Water Association (2000-present)
  • Member, Society of Biology (1992-present)
  • Member, Society for General Microbiology (1986-present)

Professional Highlights

  • External Examiner MSc (Eng) Environmental Engineering and Project Management, University of Leeds; 2011-present
  • Managing Director, Advanced Bioprocess Development Limited 2002-present
  • Chartered Biologist 1992-present
  • Royal Society Industry Fellow at Zeneca Pharmaceuticals 1994-7

Management Responsibilities

  • Head of Faculty Research Degrees, since April 2014
  • Head of Centre for Postgraduate and Early Career Researchers, since October 2011.
  • Programme Leader HNC Applied Biological Sciences 2008-2012
  • Programme Leader, BSc Biological Sciences (PT); 2010-2011

Recent External Roles

  • Grant Reviewer for EPSRC
  • External Examiner MSc (Eng) Environmental Engineering and Project Management, University of Leeds; 2011-present
  • Founder Member, Water Environmant Federation Municipal Wastewater Treatment Design Committee Knowledge Management Subcommittee - Biofilm Interest Group (2011-present)
  • Member, Society for Applied Microbiology Meetings Sub-Committee, responsible for Environmental Microbiology (2010-)
  • SGM Fermentation and Bioprocessing Group Committee (1992-1995; 1998-2001)
  • Royal Society Industrial Fellow, Zeneca Pharmaceuticals (1994-1997)

Web sites

Mike Dempsey



+44 (0)161 2471139

JD E0.04

Microbiology, microbial physiology and metabolism, biological wastewater treatment, factorial experimental design, response surface methodology for process optimisation.

Academic Interests

  • Microbial Physiology
  • Biological Wastewater Treatment
  • Bioprocess Development
  • Bioprocess Optimisation
  • Applied Microbiology

Teaching Specialisms

  • Microbial Physiology
  • Applied Microbiology
Mike Dempsey



+44 (0)161 2471139

JD E0.04

Research Interests

  • Biological treatment of water and wastewater
  • Fermentation
  • Development and Optimisation of Expanded Bed Biofilm Reactor (EBBR) processes
  • Optimisation of bioprocesses using Factorial Experimental Design and Response Surface Methodology

Selected Publications

Dempsey, M. J. (2011) Nitrification of Raw or Used Water Using Expanded Bed Biofilm Reactor Technology. In Martin G. Klotz and Lisa Y. Stein, editors: Methods in Enzymology, Vol. 496, Burlington: Academic Press, 2011, pp. 247-267. ISBN: 978-0-12-386489-5

Boltz, J.P., Morgenroth, E., deBarbadillo, C., Dempsey, M., McQuarrie, J., Ghylin, T., Harrison, J., and Nerenberg, R. (2009). Biofilm Reactor Technology and Design. In: Design of Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plants, Volume 2, Fifth Edition. WEF Manual of Practice No. 8, ASCE Manuals and Reports on Engineering Practice No. 76. McGraw Hill. New York, USA. ISBN P/N 978-0-07-166360-1 of set 978-0-07-166358-8 (MHID P/N 0-07-166360-6 of set 0-07-166358-4).

Singer, A.C. ... Dempsey, M.J. et al. (2008) Meeting Report: Risk Assessment of TamifluŽ use under Pandemic Conditions—Report from an Interdisciplinary Workshop. Environmental Health Perspectives 116(11) Nov 2008 doi:10.1289/ehp.11310

Senthilkumar, S.R., Dempsey, M.J., Krishnan, C. and Gunasekaran, P. (2008) Optimization of biobleaching of paper pulp in an expanded bed bioreactor with immobilized alkali stable xylanase by using response surface methodology. Bioresource Technology 99 (16): 7781-7787.

Dempsey, M.J. (2012) An inventor's perspective on the patenting process and spin-out companies. Invited paper, Society for Applied Microbiology Micro-Entrepreneurial Workshop, Glasgow, July 2012

Dempsey, M.J. (2012) Tertiary treatment of wastewater using a complex microbial community in an expanded bed biofilm reactor. Invited paper, Society for General Microbiology Conference, Dublin, March 2012

Dempsey, M. J. (2011) Improvements in and relating to fluid bed expansion and fluidization Australian Patent No. AU 2008 2006 62 (Granted March 3rd 2011: until October 8th, 2022

Dempsey, M. J. (2011) Nitrification Process

Canadian Patent - notification of Grant January 31st, 2011 WO 00/24682A1

Dempsey, M.J. (2010) Fluid bed expansion and fluidisation US Patent 7,708,886

Dempsey, M.J. (2008) Improvements in and relating to fluid bed expansion and fluidisation Australian Patent AU2008200662

Dempsey, M.J., McKeever, C & King, J. (2012) The Expanded Bed Biofilm Reactor (EBBR): Innovative Technology for Sustainable Wastewater Treatment.

IWA Eco-Technologies Conference, Santaigo-de-Compostella, Spain, June 2012

Dempsey, M.J. and Boltz, J.P. (2010) Tertiary Nitrification in an Expanded Bed Biofilm Reactor. WEF/IWA Biofilm Reactor Technology conference, Portland, Oregon, Aug. 2010

M. J. Dempsey, I. D. Akhidime, S. Byrom, M. Guipponi and D. Brazzorrotto (2009) Measurement of microbial activity in biofilms from expanded bed bioreactors. IWA Biofilms: Fundamentals to Applications conference, Davis, Calif., Sept. 2009

M.J. Dempsey and R. J. Minall (2009) Sludge liquor nitrification using expanded bed bioreactor technology. IWA Nutrient Removal conference, Krakow, Poland, Sept. 2009

Akhidime, I.D. and Dempsey, M.J. (2009) Influence of biofilm thickness on ammonia oxidation rate of bioparticles from expanded bed process for tertiary nitrification. IWA Nutrient Removal conference, Krakow, Poland, Sept. 2009

Dempsey, M.J. (2009) Biogas Production: Maximisation of CH4; minimisation of CO2 and N2O. Aqua Enviro Optimising the potential of Biogas conference, Leeds, UK, July 2009

Akhidime, I.D. and Dempsey, M.J. (2009) The influence of biofilm thickness on the nitrification rate of different sizes of particulate biofilms in expanded biological bed process. IWA Young Professionals conference, University College London, April 2009.

Dempsey, M.J., Boltz, J.P. McQuarrie, J., Johnson, B. and Daigger, G.T. (2008) Particulate biofilm technology for wastewater treatment. IWA Biofilm Technologies, Singapore, Jan. 2008.

Dempsey, M.J. (2012) Nitrification: removal of

ammonia from municipal

wastewater. Water and Sewerge Journal Issue 2 2012, pp 45-47

Dempsey, M.J. (2011) Advanced Bioprocess Development Ltd

Microbiology Today Spin-out Feature, August 2011, pp. 168-9

Dempsey, M.J. (2011) Nitrification: Microbiological oxidation of toxic ammonia to non-toxic nitrate

Water and Sewerage Journal Issue 2 2011, pp 23-25

Dempsey, M.J. (2008) Expanded Bed Technology for Biological Wastewater Treatment. Aqua Enviro 2nd European Water and Wastewater Management conference, Birmingham, UK, Sept. 2008.

Dempsey, M.J. (2008) Counter-current aeration: halve your energy consumption. Aqua Enviro Energy Saving Strategies for Water & Wastewater Treatment conference, Leeds, UK, April 2008.

Mike Dempsey



+44 (0)161 2471139

JD E0.04