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Dr. Rania Hamza

Rania Hamza
Assistant Professor
BSc, MSc, PhD
416-979-5000 ext. 6459

Areas of Academic Interest

Aerobic granular sludge

Biological nutrients removal

Removal of emerging contaminants

Energy and resource recovery

Wastewater treatment


Year University Degree
2019 University of Calgary PhD
2011 American University in Cairo MSc
2006 American University in Cairo BSc

Selected Courses

Course Code Course Title
CVL 501 Fluid Mechanics and Hydraulics
CVL 601 Wastewater Engineering
CV8200 / ES8902 Processes for Water Pollution Control


On Rania Hamza's bookshelf sits a plastic brown poop emoji. The deceptively cute gag gift is symbolic of society's discomfort with what's a natural – and necessary – biological function: human waste. "The fact that nobody wants to talk about wastewater annoys me because, as long as humans are alive, it's going to exist," says Rania Hamza. "With more industrial developments, people and urban cities, we're now seeing pharmaceuticals, chemicals and new pollutants that are no longer benign waste."

In the environmental engineer's lab, she's tackling this issue through her research on aerobic granular sludge – naturally occurring bacteria used to consume organic matter in sewage, which then settles and separates from the treated water. By providing optimal conditions, Hamza "trains" the bacteria to grow and amass together in large particles. "When the bacteria are healthier, they form aggregates, which settle faster and can remove more waste, including some toxic materials," she says. 

Hamza's work, which has earned her the title of "bacteria whisperer" among family and friends, can improve conventional wastewater treatment technologies, ensuring our drinking water, lakes and rivers are clean. "Canada has beautiful and awesome water resources, and that makes people take it for granted," she says. "But now, everybody should be thinking about wastewater differently."

Rania Hamza

"Human waste does not end by flushing the toilet; it starts another journey."

  • NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship (2019)
  • Izaak Walton Killam Doctoral Scholarship (2017 - 2019) 
  • Queen Elizabeth II Doctoral Scholarship (2016 - 2018)
  • Eyes High Doctoral Scholarship (2015 - 2016)
  • Hamza, R.A., Sheng, Z., Iorhemen, O.T., Zaghloul, M.S., and Tay, J.H (2019). Optimization of organics to nutrients (COD:N:P) ratio for ‎aerobic granular sludge treating high-strength organic ‎wastewater. Science of the Total Environment, 650 (part 2), 3168-3179.
  • Iorhemen, O.T., Hamza, R.A., Zaghloul, M.S., and Tay, J.H. (2019) Aerobic granular sludge membrane bioreactor (AGMBR): Extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) analysis. Water Research, Vol 56, Pages 305-314
  • Hamza, R.A., Iorhemen, O.T., Zaghloul, M.S., Sheng, Z., and Tay, J.H. (2018). Impact of food-to-microorganisms ratio on the stability of ‎aerobic granular sludge treating high-strength organic ‎wastewater. Water Research, 147 (15), 287-298.
  • Zaghloul, M. S., Hamza, R. A., Iorhemen, O. T., and Tay, J. H. (2018). Performance prediction of an aerobic granular SBR using modular multilayer artificial neural networks. Science of The Total Environment, 645, 449-459.
  • Hamza, R.A., Iorhemen, O.T., Zaghloul, M.S., and Tay, J.H (2018). Rapid formation and characterization of aerobic granules in pilot-scale sequential batch reactor for high-strength organic wastewater treatment. Journal of Water Process Engineering, 22, 27-33.