Professor Graeme Walker

Professor - Zymology

School School of Applied Sciences

Department Division of Engineering and Food Sciences

Contact info

+44 (0)1382 30 8658

Biography

I’m a Professor of Zymology and Director of the Abertay Yeast Research Group.

My PhD (1978) was in Yeast Physiology and I have over 40 years of research experience in microbiology and biotechnology.  I also act as consultant for international biotechnology companies.

My current research interests involve yeast physiology and biotechnology, with a particular focus involving optimising fermentations for alcoholic beverages, distilled spirits and sustainable biofuels. 

I have held academic positions and conducted research in the UK, Denmark, New Zealand, Ireland, Canada and the US. 

To date, I have published over 200 articles and authored several textbooks, including Yeast Physiology & BiotechnologyBioethanol and The Alcohol Textbook.

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Lecturing duties in Microbiology and Biotechnology: Prof Walker acts as Module tutor and co-deliverer of modules in BSc and MSc programmes, covering topics such as Yeast Biotechnology, Fermentation/Bioprocess Technology, Food Biotechnology, Industrial & Biomedical Biotechnology, and Renewable Energy Technologies. He also supervises Research Projects (BSc Hons, MSc, MProf and PhD).

Prof Walker has 40 years postdoctoral research experience in microbiology and biotechnology. He is director of the Abertay Yeast Research Group which investigates aspects of growth, metabolism and stress in yeasts of industrial, environmental and medical significance. Research funding for this Group has been forthcoming from research councils (e.g. BBSRC), European Commission (e.g. Framework 6 Programme), industry (e.g. BP Chemicals, Glaxo, Heineken, Diageo), charities (e.g. Carnegie Trust) and professional bodies (e.g. Institute of Brewing & Distilling). He has previously supervised 19 PhD, 30 research Masters, 110 BSc Honours and 16 visiting Erasmus research students to successful completion. Collaborative research projects have been undertaken with several academic and industrial partners in the UK and internationally. Current (PhD) projects include:

- Investigating yeast biodiversity for whisky fermentations

- Evaluating legumes for brewing and distilling

- Immobilised non-Saccharomyces yeasts for wine fermentations

- Bioethanol from marine biomass

- Wood maturation of distilled spirits

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Funding

Research funding for the Abertay Yeast Research Group has been forthcoming from research councils (e.g. BBSRC), European Commission (e.g. Framework 6 Programme), industry (e.g. BP Chemicals, Glaxo, Heineken, Diageo), charities (e.g. Carnegie Trust), professional bodies (e.g. Institute of Brewing & Distilling) and governmental organisations (e.g. Technology Strategy Board, Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre).

Esteem

Esteem

External academic activities

1984 - present

74 PhD Examinerships: Universities of Oslo (N), Toulouse (F), New England (AUS), Victoria (AUS)x2, Southern Queensland (AUS), Witwatersrand (SA)x2, Saskatchewan (CAN), Stellenbosch (SA), Dublin (I), Danish Technical University (DK)x4, Swedish Agricultural University, Uppsala (S)x4, Ballarat University (AUS), University of New South Wales (AUS), University of the West Indies (Jamaica),  Delft University of Technology (NL), Heriot-Watt (UK)x9, Aberdeen (UK)x3, Abertay (UK)x15, Strathclyde (UK)x6, Nottingham (UK)x8, also MRes x2),  Bath (UK), Edinburgh Napier (UK), University College London (UK), National University of Ireland (I), Oxford-Brookes University (UK)x3, St Andrews University (UK), University of the Highlands & Islands (UK)

 1989 - 1991

MSc Examiner, National University of Ireland

1988 - 1990

SCOTVEC Biotechnology Examiner

1995 – 2000

External Verifier, The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen (Applied Sciences)

2004

Chair, Scottish Qualifications Agency (HND Biotechnology)

2005

Expert Evaluator, European Commission, Brussels (FP6 proposals)

2000-present

Expert Reviewer (Professoriate Appointments), Universities of Parma, Italy,

(2000), Southern Queensland, Australia (2006)), Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden (2009), Heriot-Watt University (2012)

2004-present

BioDundee Steering Group committee member

2006-2011

External Examiner, Napier University (School of Life Sciences)

2006-present

Committee member, British Science Association [Tayside & Fife Branch]

1988 - present

Research Grant Referee/Expert Evaluator for:

NERC and BBSRC (UK), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), South African National Research Foundation, Australian Research Council Office of Science & Technology, Slovenian Ministry of Education & Science, Australian Research Council College of Experts, National Science Fund of Bulgaria, Danish Council for Strategic Research, Industrial Research Fund (K.U. Leuven, Belgium), Latvian Council of Sciences

2009-present

Scientific Committee member of Polish Fermentation School

2010-present

Scientific Director of Ethanol Technology Institute

Scientific Advisory Board member BBSRC Sustainable Bioenergy Centre (Nottingham University)

2011

External MSc Validator University of Ulster, Coleraine, N Ireland

External Research Assessor, Heriot-Watt University

2011-present

Accredited Trainer for Institute of Brewing & Distilling

2013 -present

External Examiner, BSc and MSc Brewing & Distilling, Heriot-Watt University

Awards/Honours

1978 – 1980

Royal Society/NATO Postdoctoral Fellowship, Copenhagen

1982

EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowship

2000

Molson 2000 Lecturer, University of Saskatchewan, Canada

2008 & 2009

Royal Society of Chemistry plenary speaker at International biofuels symposia: San Juan, Puerto Rico (2008) and IUPAC, Glasgow (2009)

2009

Elected Fellow of the Institute of Brewing & Distilling (FIBD)

2010

Elected UK Commissioner for International Commission on Yeasts and Yeast-like Organisms of the International Union of Microbiological Societies

Non-Academic (sporting) awards:  Winner’s medals: for Nordic Cup (Denmark 1980: rugby); Methven’s League champions (New Zealand 1982: football); Civil Service League champions (Ireland 1985: football); Abertay University Champion (Dundee 2002 and Tayport 2010: golf); BioDundee winner (St Andrews 2009: golf); Edinburgh Festival (2013: stand-up comedian)

Refereeships/Editorial work

1988 - present

Journal Referee for:

Journal of General Microbiology, Process Biochemistry, Biotechnology & Bioengineering, Enzyme & Microbial Technology, Molecular & Cellular Biochemistry, Biotechnology Progress, Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, FEMS Letters, FEMS Yeast Research, European Journal of Biochemistry, Journal of the American Society of Brewing Chemists, World Journal of Microbiology & Biotechnology, Biological Trace Element Research, Journal of Industrial Microbiology, International Journal of Food Microbiology, Mycological Research, Microbiology (UK), Microbiology Today, Process Biochemistry, Journal of Applied & Environmental Microbiology, Journal of Biotechnology, Critical Reviews in Biotechnology, American Journal of Enology and Viticulture, International Journal of Wine Research, Free Radical Biology & Medicine, Magnesium Research, Mycological Research, Journal of Applied Microbiology, Animal Feed Science & Technology, Biotechnology and Applied Biochemistry, Scientia Agricola, Applied Microbiology & Biotechnology, Electronic Journal of Biotechnology, Ultrasonics Sonochemistry, BioEngineered Bugs, Applied Energy, Journal of Molecular Microbiology & Biotechnology, Microbial Cell Factories, Brazilian Journal of Microbiology


Book Reviewer for:
Oxford University Press, Chapman & Hall, Cambridge University Press, Harwood Academic Publishers, Gordon & Broach Science Publishers, J. Wiley & Sons, Society for General Microbiology, Elsevier Science Publishers.
 

Book Reviewer for:

Oxford University Press, Chapman & Hall, Cambridge University Press, Harwood Academic Publishers, Gordon & Broach Science Publishers, J. Wiley & Sons, Society for General Microbiology, Elsevier Science Publishers.

2000 - 2008

Member of Editorial Board, FEMS Yeast Research

2005 - present

Managing Editor, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek International Journal of Microbiology

2008 - present

Member of Editorial Board, Journal of the American Society of Brewing Chemists, International Journal of Wine Research

2010 - present

Member of Editorial Board, Journal of the Institute of Brewing

Society memberships/external committees/conference organisation

1974 - present

Institute of Brewing, Member (Scottish Section Committee, 1997-2001)

1983

Irish Yeast Group (Founder)

1984

Society for General Microbiology (Scottish Branch Committee, 1991-94)

1995 - present

American Society of Brewing Chemists, Member

1994 - present

Convenor (1994-2000) and Committee Member (2000-present)

Scottish Microbiology Society

2003 - present

FEMS Council Delegate (for Scottish Microbiology Society)

1983 - present

Conference organisation:

Irish & Scottish Yeast Group meetings

Society for General Microbiology meetings (Scottish Section)

Scottish Microbiology Society symposia

FEMS Council meeting (Edinburgh 2009)

International Symposium on Yeasts (ISSY18 Committee)

Int. Conferences on Yeast Genetics & Mol Biol (Finance & Policy Committee)

Institute of Brewing & Distilling Scottish Section meetings

Worldwide Distilled Spirits Conference (Prog Chair 2008: Committee 2011)

British Science Association (Tayside & Fife committee member)

BioDundee Steering Group committee member

International Commission on Yeasts (ISSY & ICY Symposia)

The Alcohol Schools (Toulouse, Omaha and Montreal)

Invited plenary lectures

Invited lectures, including keynote/plenary presentations, have been presented at universities, industries and scientific symposia/conferences in Australia, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hawaii, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Morocco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand and USA.

Knowledge Exchange

Prof Walker is involved on a consultancy basis with several international companies in the biotechnology and bioenergy fields. He has also acted as a co-supervisor for a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Associate, in partnership with Diageo Plc.

Outreach

Outreach

Graeme Walker is regularly invited to speak to various clubs and societies. (e.g. Probus Clubs, Rotary Clubs, University Women's Association, Cafe Science, Edinburgh Science Festival, Bright Clubs, Edinburgh Festival Fringe (stand-up comedy) etc).

Meet the rest of the team

Dr Andrew Spiers

Dr Andrew Spiers

Division of Engineering and Food Sciences | Reader

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Dr John Grigor

Dr John Grigor

Division of Engineering and Food Sciences | Lecturer

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