Graciela Gonzalez-Gil, Ph.D.

Research Scientists

​Research Scientist

Research Interests

My research focuses on the structure and function of microbial communities and their architecture in aggregates and biofilms; particularly those of engineered environments. My goal is to understand the principles that drive the ecology of microorganisms in drinking water systems by mining multi meta-omics information in tandem with physical-chemical properties of the system. With increasing pollution pressures in the environment, I am interested in holistic approaches to harness and control microbial communities specifically to achieve greener production of microbiologically safe water.

Selected Publications

  • Bacterial community structure and variation in a full-scale seawater desalination plant for drinking water producti... 
    A. Belila, J. El-Chakhtoura, N. Otaibi, G. Muyzer, G. Gonzalez-Gil, P.E. Saikaly, M.C.M. v...
    Water Research, Volume 94, p. 62-72, (2016)
  • Selenite reduction by anaerobic microbial aggregates: Microbial community structure, and proteins associated to the... 
    G. Gonzalez-Gil, P.N.L. Lens, P.E. Saikaly
    Frontiers in Microbiology, Volume 7, Issue APR, article number 571, (2016)
  • Temporal changes in extracellular polymeric substances on hydrophobic and hydrophilic membrane surfaces in a submer... 
    G. Matar, G. Gonzalez-Gil, H. Maab, S.P. Nunes, P. Le-Clech, J.S. Vrouwenvelder, P.E. Saik...
    Water Research, Volume 95, p. 27-38, (2016)
  • Effects of selenium oxyanions on the white-rot fungus Phanerochaete chrysosporium 
    E.J. Espinosa-Ortiz, G. Gonzalez-Gil, P.E. Saikaly, E.D. van Hullebusch, P.N.L. Lens
    Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, volume 99, Issue 5, p. 2405-2418, (2015)
  • NMR and MALDI-TOF MS based characterization of exopolysaccharides in anaerobic microbial aggregates from full-scale... 
    G. Gonzalez-Gil, L. Thomas, A.-H. Emwas, P.N.L. Lens, P.E. Saikaly
    Scientific Reports, volume 5, (2015)
  • Microbial Community Composition and Ultrastructure of Granules from a Full-Scale Anammox Reactor 
    G. Gonzalez-Gil, R. Sougrat, A.R. Behzad, P.N.L. Lens, P.E. Saikaly
    Environmental Microbiology, Microbial Ecology, Volume 70, Issue 1, p. 118-131, (2014)


  • ​Ph.D., Environmental Science and Technology, University of Wageningen, The Netherlands
  • M.Sc., Environmental Science and Technology, UNESCO-IHE, Delft, The Netherlands 
  • B.Sc., Biology (Microbiology focus), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México

Professional Profile

2019-present: Research Scientist, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Chemical and Life Sciences and Engineering Division

2017-2019: Biological sciences visiting lecturer, Universidad de Panamá

2014-2016: Senior Researcher, UNESCO-IHE, Institute for Water Education Delft, Environmental Engineering and Water Technology Department

2011-2014: Postdoctoral fellow, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Chemical and Life Sciences and Engineering Division

2007-2011: Scientific collaborator, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), Laboratory for Environmental Biotechnology

2003-2006: Scientific collaborator, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH), Institute of Biogeochemistry and Pollutant Dynamics

2001-2002: Postdoctoral associate, Montana State University, Department of Microbiology and Center for Biofilm Engineering

2000-2001: Postdoctoral associate, Wageningen University, Laboratory of Physical Chemistry and Colloid Science

1996-2000: Research assistant, Wageningen University, Department of Environmental Technology


​Intra European Marie Curie Fellowship award

KAUST Affiliations

​Water Desalination and Reuse Center (WDRC)

Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering Division (BESE)

Research Interests Keywords

Microbial ecology Biofilms architecture and ecology Drinking water Environmental biotechnology