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Komang Ralebitso-Senior

01642 342525
Job title:
Senior Lecturer in Molecular Biology
School of Science, Engineering & Design
Science, Engineering and Design research

About Komang Ralebitso-Senior

Komang Ralebitso-Senior

Komang Ralebitso-Senior
Senior Lecturer in Molecular Biology, School of Science, Engineering & Design
T: 01642 342525
Research: Science, Engineering and Design research

Dr Ralebitso-Senior is a Senior Lecturer in Molecular Biology and former Programme Leader for BSc(Hons) Biological Sciences in the School of Science & Engineering. She read Biology (Pre-Medical) at The City University of New York, and graduated BSc(Hons) Environmental Microbiology from the University of Natal, prior to completing a PhD with the University of Natal and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. She held post-doctoral positions at the BioMEMS Laboratory of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and the NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Oxford.

Komang’s research interests are in exploring complex interacting microbial associations that underpin key biotechnologies such as biochar application, bioremediation, biofiltration, anaerobic digestion, waste management, culture banks, bioreactor development, forensic ecogenomics and genechip application. She has published over 53 papers in refereed journals and international conferences in molecular microbial ecology. In addition, she is a member of the Editorial Board of Frontiers in Environmental Science, a Guest Editor of BioMed Research International (Environmental Biotechnology Special Issue) and has reviewed papers for several international research journals including Biodegradation, Journal of Applied Microbiology, Plant Physiology & Biochemistry, Soil Biology & Biochemistry, Bioscience Horizons, Water Research, Environmental Science & Technology and International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation.

Komang is a STEM Ambassador and member of the Society for Applied Microbiology ( and the International Society for Microbial Ecology ( She has served on the School Research Degrees Sub-Committee (2010/12), School Research Ethics Committee (Deputy Chair - 2011/12; 2014/15) and University Research Degrees Committee, and has supervised nine PhD programmes with four on-stream.

Previous enterprise experience includes research, development and consultancy activities in Singapore and with SMEs in the North East England.


Research interests

Research projects

Natural Environment Research Council, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Oxford, UK (2003-06) - Implementation and monitoring of enhanced/engineered in situ bioremediation of former gas works sites using a complementation of chemical, physiological and molecular microbial ecology techniques

School of Mechanical and Production Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (2002-03) - Development of a DNA microchip that incorporates analysis based on real-time PCR for medical and environmental diagnostics

University of Natal/Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam (1999-2001) - Bioremediation of atrazine- and BTX-contaminated soils: Insights through molecular/physiological characterization

University of Natal (1997-98) - Co-disposal and nitrogen metabolism: Assessment of the impacts of co-disposal of anaerobically-digested sewage sludge with refuse on leachate quality.

PhD Programmes on Forensic Ecogenomics

Forensic EcoGenomics: The Application of Cutting-edge Molecular Microbial Ecology Tools for Contemporary Crime Investigations.
Director of Study: Dr TK Ralebitso-Senior

In the mid-1990s, the crime scene toolkit was revolutionized by the introduction of DNA-based analyses. The application of cutting-edge molecular microbial ecology tools in what we have termed ‘Forensic EcoGenomics’ has potential to establish a new generation of cross-disciplinary research to then expand the toolkit for forensic anthropology and crime scene researchers and practitioners, particularly in locating areas of body decomposition. Our publications from an on-going PhD programme on the topic have received endorsement from international referees with comments such as “This information is interesting, helpful, and worthwhile; we currently know relatively little about the microbiology and microbial ecology of gravesoils.” Therefore, PhD programmes on this topic are intended to expand the current knowledge base, which was developed at the interface of forensics, (environmental) microbiology and archaeology here at the School of Science and Engineering of Teesside University, towards realising the potential application of forensic ecogenomics in real crime scenes.