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Dr Robert Russell

Dr Robert Russell

Deuteration Scientist/Laboratory Manager

Role at ANSTO

Rob is responsible for the deuteration of biopolymers within the National Deuteration Facility, and is manager of Biodeuteration Laboratories. He operates and maintains a range of instruments and coordinates asset management.


Rob has expertise in process development for bacterial, fungal and algal biodeuteration. Complementary expertise includes gel permeation chromatography, mass spectrometry, microscopy (including SEM) and mammalian cell culture.

Rob has developed novel biopolymer/carbon nanotube composites for biomedical applications. He uses techniques such as NMR and Infrared microspectroscopy to improve understanding of the formation and properties of polymers produced by microorganisms.


Rob joined ANSTO in 1997 working in Environmental Research investigating the role of microorganisms in mining, industrial and radionuclide interactions.

Rob was selected for training on Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (Cameca, Luxembourg and University of Rouen, France,1999) and applied this to the analysis of biological matrices including crocodile bones, corals and cultured pearls.

Rob developed the capability for biodeuteration of microbial biopolymers and characterisation by small angle neutron scattering (SANS) with the newly-formed National Deuteration Facility in 2007.

Qualifications & Experience

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

Rob is a member of the Royal Australian Chemical Society (MRACI CChem), and was on the Organising Committee for the International Conference on Bio-Polymers (ISBP 2012), Cairns, Australia.