Dr Geetika Bhagwat

Dr Geetika Bhagwat

Research Associate

School of Engineering

Career Summary


Dr. Geetika Bhagwat has over 10 years of experience in microbiology research. Since 2011, Geetika has worked at several prestigious research institutes in India and led projects focussed on improving abiotic (Environmental) and biotic (pathogens) stress resistance in a variety of crops and soil microbiology.

In 2017, Geetika received the prestigious Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship to pursue doctoral research.

Geetika's PhD was focused on understanding the composition, function, and environmental role of microbial biofilms in governing the behavior of a variety of environmental contaminants such as plastics, Poly Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), Per -and poly fluoroalkyl substances (PFAs), and toxic metals.

Currently, Geetika is working on optimising microbial metabolic functions/processes for industrial applications.

Research areas:

Metagenomic analysis of environmental biofilms

Legacy and compostable plastic research

Bioremediation of harmful algae bloom

Pollutant monitoring and biosecurity

Wastewater treatment technologies


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Newcastle


  • Environmental microbiology
  • Metagenomics
  • Microscopy
  • Plant Molecular Biology
  • Pollutant monitoring
  • microbial fermentation
  • microplastic research


  • English (Fluent)
  • Hindi (Fluent)
  • Marathi (Mother)

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
300102 Agricultural marine biotechnology 30
419999 Other environmental sciences not elsewhere classified 30
310799 Microbiology not elsewhere classified 40

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Research Associate University of Newcastle
School of Engineering
Casual Academic University of Newcastle
School of Environmental and Life Sciences

Academic appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/3/2021 - 1/6/2021 Casual Research Assistant School of Engineering, The University of Newcastle

Professional appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
14/4/2015 - 17/12/2016 Research Fellow

Molecular assessment of drought-resistant genes in tomato

Investigation of introgressive hybridisation approach for the interspecies transfer of genetic information

ICAR-Indian Institute of Vegetable research
Division of Crop Improvement
3/9/2013 - 31/10/2014 Research fellow

Investigating the symbiotic association of the genus Trichoderma with castor plant and identifying the molecular modifications responsible for inducing disease resistance

University of Hyderabad
Department of Plant Sciences
5/9/2011 - 30/11/2012 Research fellow

Investigating the operative advantage given to the model plant by newly introduced high-altitude genes against drought and cold stress

CSIR-Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology


For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.

Journal article (8 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2021 Senathirajah K, Attwood S, Bhagwat G, Carbery M, Wilson S, Palanisami T, 'Estimation of the mass of microplastics ingested A pivotal first step towards human health risk assessment', Journal of Hazardous Materials, 404 (2021) [C1]

The ubiquitous presence of microplastics in the food web has been established. However, the mass of microplastics exposure to humans is not defined, impeding the human health risk... [more]

The ubiquitous presence of microplastics in the food web has been established. However, the mass of microplastics exposure to humans is not defined, impeding the human health risk assessment. Our objectives were to extract the data from the available evidence on the number and mass of microplastics from various sources, to determine the uncertainties in the existing data, to set future research directions, and derive a global average rate of microplastic ingestion to assist in the development of human health risk assessments and effective management and policy options. To enable the comparison of microplastics exposure across a range of sources, data extraction and standardization was coupled with the adoption of conservative assumptions. Following the analysis of data from fifty-nine publications, an average mass for individual microplastics in the 0¿1 mm size range was calculated. Subsequently, we estimated that globally on average, humans may ingest 0.1¿5 g of microplastics weekly through various exposure pathways. This was the first attempt to transform microplastic counts into a mass value relevant to human toxicology. The determination of an ingestion rate is fundamental to assess the human health risks of microplastic ingestion. These findings will contribute to future human health risk assessment frameworks.

DOI 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2020.124004
Citations Scopus - 30Web of Science - 21
Co-authors Maddison Carbery Uon, Thava Palanisami
2021 Bhagwat G, Tran TKA, Lamb D, Senathirajah K, Grainge I, O'Connor W, et al., 'Biofilms Enhance the Adsorption of Toxic Contaminants on Plastic Microfibers under Environmentally Relevant Conditions.', Environ Sci Technol, 55 8877-8887 (2021)
DOI 10.1021/acs.est.1c02012
Co-authors Thava Palanisami, Thikim Tran, Ian Grainge
2021 Bhagwat G, 'Understanding the Fundamental Basis for Biofilm Formation on Plastic Surfaces: Role of Conditioning Films', Frontiers in Microbiology, (2021)
Co-authors Thava Palanisami, Ian Grainge
2021 Bhagwat G, Carbery M, Anh Tran TK, Grainge I, O'Connor W, Palanisami T, 'Fingerprinting Plastic-Associated Inorganic and Organic Matter on Plastic Aged in the Marine Environment for a Decade.', Environmental science & technology, 55 7407-7417 (2021) [C1]
DOI 10.1021/acs.est.1c00262
Citations Scopus - 2
Co-authors Thikim Tran, Maddison Carbery Uon, Thava Palanisami, Ian Grainge
2021 Bhagwat G, Zhu Q, O Connor W, Subashchandrabose S, Grainge I, Knight R, Palanisami T, 'Exploring the Composition and Functions of Plastic Microbiome Using Whole-Genome Sequencing', Environmental Science & Technology, 55 4899-4913 (2021) [C1]
DOI 10.1021/acs.est.0c07952
Citations Scopus - 10Web of Science - 10
Co-authors Thava Palanisami, Ian Grainge, Suresh Subashchandrabose
2020 Bhagwat G, Gray K, Wilson SP, Muniyasamy S, Vincent SGT, Bush R, Palanisami T, 'Benchmarking Bioplastics: A Natural Step Towards a Sustainable Future', Journal of Polymers and the Environment, 28 3055-3075 (2020) [C1]
DOI 10.1007/s10924-020-01830-8
Citations Scopus - 9Web of Science - 9
Co-authors Thava Palanisami
2020 Fred-Ahmadu OH, Bhagwat G, Oluyoye I, Benson NU, Ayejuyo OO, Palanisami T, 'Interaction of chemical contaminants with microplastics: Principles and perspectives', Science of the Total Environment, 706 (2020) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.135978
Citations Scopus - 85Web of Science - 69
Co-authors Thava Palanisami
2013 Bhardwaj PK, Kapoor R, Mala D, Bhagwat G, Acharya V, Singh AK, et al., 'Braving the attitude of altitude: Caragana jubata at work in cold desert of Himalaya', SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 3 (2013)
DOI 10.1038/srep01022
Citations Scopus - 16Web of Science - 15
Show 5 more journal articles

Dr Geetika Bhagwat


Research Associate
School of Engineering
College of Engineering, Science and Environment

Casual HunterWISE Mentor
School of Education
College of Human and Social Futures

Casual Academic
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
College of Engineering, Science and Environment

Contact Details

Email geetika.bhagwat@newcastle.edu.au
Links Research Networks
Research Networks


Building Advanced Technology Centre (ATC), Level 1
Location Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308