Prof Peter Holden

Leader - National Deuteration Facility
Phone - +61 2 9717 3991


Role at ANSTO


Dr Peter Holden has a PhD and MSc from the Department of Biotechnology at the University of New South Wales and a BSc (Hons) in Microbiology from the University of Sydney. Peter is Leader of the National Deuteration Facility (NDF) which provides the expertise and infrastructure for isotopic labelling of both native and synthetic organic molecules for structural analysis using neutron scattering or Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy.


$3.3 million in funding was won through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy and together with over $4 million in funding from ANSTO led to the establishment of the NDF. Peter is also Leader of the Soft Matter Group in the Bragg Institute, which operates the Small Angle Neutron Scattering (SANS) spectrometer (Quokka) and the Neutron Reflectometer (Platypus) at the OPAL Reactor, as well as Small Angle X-ray and reflectivity instruments.


Peter has produced over 100 journal and conference publications and reports plus two patents, and has worked on numerous consultancies. Adjunct positions held include Professorial Visiting Fellow in the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences at the University of New South Wales. 




Current interests are in the application of neutron and X-ray scattering to characterisation of the relationship between structure and function of biomolecules, and deuteration of biomolecules including biodegradable biopolymers and proteins. Peter also has over 25 year’s experience in environmental biotechnology in the public and private sectors and specialises in the biogeochemistry of iron and sulfur oxidation and microbial ecology.


Selected publications

Yun, S.I., Lo, V., Noorman, J., Davis, J., Russell, R.A., Holden, P.J. and G.E. Gadd, 2010. Morphology of Composite Particles of Single Wall Carbon Nanotubes / Biodegradable Polyhydroxyalkanoates prepared by Spray Drying. Polym. Bull. 64, 99 106.


Yun, S.I., Gadd, G., Latella, B.A., Lo, V., Russell, R.A. and P.J. Holden, 2008. Mechanical Properties of Biodegradable Polyhydroxyalkanoates/Single Wall Carbon Nanotube Nanocomposite Films. Polym. Bull. 61, 267 275.


Russell, R.A., Holden, P.J., Wilde, K.L., Garvey, C.J., Hammerton, K.M. and L.J.R. Foster, 2008. Biodeuteration strategies for neutron scattering analysis of bacterial polyhydroxyoctanoate. Eur. Biophys. J. 37, 711-715.


Foster, L.J.R., Schwann, D., Pipich, V., Holden, P.J. and D. Richter, 2008. SANS Characterisation of polyhydroxyalkanoates and their bioPEGulated hybrids in solution. Biomacromol. 9, 314-320.


Russell, R.A., Holden, P.J., Wilde, K.L., Hammerton, K.M. and L.J.R. Foster, 2007. Production and use of deuterated polyhydroxyoctanoate in structural studies of PHO inclusions. J. Biotechnol. 132, 303-305.


Russell, R.A., Holden, P.J., Garvey, C.J., Wilde, K.L., Hammerton, K.M. and L.J. Foster, 2006. Investigation of the phase morphology of bacterial PHA inclusion bodies by contrast variation SANS. Physica B 385-386, 859-61.


Rodgers, L.E., Knott, R.B., Holden, P.J., Pike, K.J., Hanna, J.V., Foster, L.J.R. and J.R. Bartlett, 2006. Structural evolution and stability of sol-gel biocatalysts. Physica B 385-386, 508-510.


Foster, L.J.R., Knott, R., Sanguanchaipaiwong. V. and P.J. Holden, 2006. Polyhydroxyalkanoate based natural-synthetic hybrid copolymer films: a small angle neutron scattering study. Physica B 385-386, 770-772.


Foster, LJR; Russell, RA; Sanguanchaipaiwong, V; Stone, DJM; Hook, JM & Holden PJ., 2006. Biosynthesis and Characterisation of Deuterated Polyhydroxyoctanoate (PHO) Biomacromol. 7, 1344-1349.


Ben-David, E.A., Holden, P.J., Stone, D.J.M., Harch, B.D. and L.J. Foster, 2005. The use of phospholipid fatty acid analysis to measure impact of acid rock drainage on microbial communities in sediments. Microb. Ecol. 48(3), 300-315.


Rodgers, L.E., Holden, P.J., Knott, R.B., Finnie, K.S., Bartlett, J.R. and L.J.R. Foster, 2005. Effect of Sol-Gel Encapsulation on Enzyme Structure and Function: A Small Angle Neutron Scattering Study. J. Sol-Gel Sci. Technol. 33, 65-69.