Dr Robert Russell

Bioanalyst, Biodeuteration Lab Manager
Phone - +61 2 +61 2 9717 3691
Rob Russell media centre thumbnail


Role at ANSTO

Responsible for the deuteration of biopolymers within the National Deuteration Facility, and Manager of Biodeuteration Laboratories.

Expertise in fermentation process development for bacterial, fungal and algal cultures. Complementary expertise includes gel permeation chromatography and mass spectrometry.

Biodeuteration of microbial biopolymers and characterisation by small angle neutron scattering, NMR and Infrared microspectroscopy experiments to improve understanding of the formation and properties of biopolymers produced by microorganisms. Production and characteristics of novel biopolymer/carbon nanotube composites for medical applications.

Interaction of microorganisms with radionuclides.

Analysis of biological matrices using Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry.


Qualifications and expertise

  • Ph.D. in polymer biodeuteration and nanocomposites, University of New South Wales (2018);
    BSc. (Hons) in environmental microbiology, University of Sydney (1992).
  • Production of novel deuterated biopolymers and characterisation using neutron and infrared beamlines.
  • Fermentation/biotechnology industry (1993-1996).



Selected publications

Russell, R.A., L. John R. Foster and P.J. Holden. Carbon Nanotube mediated miscibility of Polyhydroxyalkanoate blends and chemical imaging using deuterium-labelled Polyhydroxyalkanoate. Manuscript in preparation.

2015. Biopolymer Deuteration for Neutron Scattering and Other Isotope-Sensitive Techniques. In Z. Kelman (Ed.), Methods in Enzymology Volume 565. Isotope Labeling of Biomolecules - Labeling Methods, (pp. 97-121) Elsevier, Oxford, UK..

Russell, R.A., Darwish, T., Puskar, L., Martin, D., Holden, P.J. and L.J.R. Foster., 2014. Deuterated polymers for probing phase separation using Infrared microspectroscopy. Biomacromolecules 15 (2)644-649.

Chan, R.T.H.; Marcal, H., Russell, R.A., Holden, P.J. and L.J.R. Foster., 2014. BioPEGylation of Polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) Promotes Nerve Cell Health and Migration. Biomacromolecules 15 (1) 339-349.

S. I. Yun, V. Lo, J. Noorman, J. Davis, R. A. Russell, P. J. Holden, and G. E. Gadd, 2010. Morphology of composite particles of single wall carbon nanotubes/biodegradable polyhydroxyalkanoates prepared by spray drying, Polymer Bulletin 64(1), 99-106.

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

L.J.R. Foster, R. Russell, V. Sanguanchaipaiwong, D.J.M. Stone, J. Hook and P.J. Holden 2006. Biosynthesis and Characterisation of a Deuterated Polyhydroxyalkanoate. Biomacromolecules, 7, 1344-1349.

G.R. MacFarlane, S.J. Markich, K. Linz, S. Gifford, R.H. Dunstan, W. O’Connor, R.A. Russell 2006. The Akoya pearl oyster shell as an archival indicator of lead exposure. Environmental Pollution, 143, 166-173.

R.A. Russell, P.J. Holden, T.E. Payne & G.D. McOrist, 2004. The effect of sulfate-reducing bacteria on adsorption of 137Cs by soils from arid and tropical regions. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 74, 151-158.