Dr Claudio Avignone Rossa

Reader in Systems Microbiology

Qualifications: BSc Chem, Lic. Biochem Sci, PhD Biochem Sci

Phone: Work: 01483 68 6457
Room no: 09 AX 01

Office hours

Mon - Fri 9am to 5pm

Further information


Claudio obtained his degree in Chemistry (1987), followed by a Licentiate degree in Biochemical Sciences (1989) and a PhD in Biochemical Sciences (1994) from the University of La Plata (Argentina). He was appointed Associate Professor of Biotechnology  at the University of Quilmes (Argentina) in 1994, and moved to the University of Amsterdam, where he joined the Microbial Physiology Group as a Research Fellow from 1995 to 1999. 

He joined the University of Surrey as a Research Associate in 1999, and was appointed as Lecturer in Microbial Physiology in 2000, promoted to Senior Lecturer in Microbial Systems Biology in 2006 and became a Reader in 2012.

Research Interests

Systems Microbiology

My research interests are in the field of Quantitative Microbial Physiology, Metabolic Modelling and Metabolic Engineering.

  • In silico analysis of metabolic networks for the prediction of metabolic capabilities
  • Metabolic modelling and quantitative physiology of microorganisms for the production of bioactive
  • Metabolic Engineering of microorganisms (e.g. Streptomyces, yeasts) for the improvement of biosynthetic activities.

Our goal is the rational improvement of the capability of microorganisms for the production of compounds of medical and industrial interest.

The projects combine genomic data, metabolic network modeling, metabolic flux analysis and fermentation technology to design better strategies for antibiotic production, either by the targeted manipulation of specific metabolic pathways or by the modification of the production bioprocess.


Biological Fuel Cells

Part of my research is directed to the development of Biological Fuel Cells: Microbial fuel cells (MFCs), where micro-organisms in the anodic compartment of a fuel cell produce electricity from organic materials, and Enzymatic fuel cells (EFCs), where electricity is produced by isolated enzyme bound to the anode of a fuel cell.

The research team participates in a consortium of teams from 6 universities (SuperGen 5: BioFuelCells, EPSRC) aiming to achieve advances in a technology to produce electricity from sustainable biological materials.

Research Collaborations

I have been principal investigator and co-investigator in BBSRC and EPSRC funded projects, in collaboration with colleagues from the Microbial Sciences Division, the Biochemical Sciences Division and the Chemistry Division.

Research grants

  • In silico study of lignocellulosic biofuel processes. Source: BBSRC. With Prof M. Bushell, Dr A. Kierzek and Dr N. Kirkby
  • Regulation of antibiotic production in industrial strains. Source: Eli Lilly. With Prof M. Bushell
  • Metabolic engineering of Streptomyces for improved production of bioactive molecules. Source: BBSRC. 
  • Development of a transcriptome-constrained genome-scale bioreaction network to provide an in silico model of cell metabolism with predictive power for secondary metabolism in Streptomyces
  • The Supergen Biological Fuel Cells consortium. Source: EPSRC. With Prof B. Slade, Dr A. Thumser, and Dr J. Varcoe
  • Construction of a genome scale in silico metabolic model of Mycobacterium tuberculosis to investigate growth-regulated metabolism. Source: BBSRC
  • ACTINOGEN - Integrating genomics-based applications to exploit actinomycetes as a resource for new antibiotics. Source:  EU.
  • The interplay between two-component signal transduction systems and genome scale metabolic in S.coelicolor, Source: BBSRC.
  • Growth-associated gene essentiality in Streptomyces. Source: BBSRC.


Publications since 2002

Quantitative microbial physiology

• Ahmed AESI, Wardell JN, Thumser AE, Avignone-Rossa CA, Cavalli G, Hay JN, Bushell ME. (2011) Metabolomic Profiling Can Differentiate Between Bactericidal Effects of Free and Polymer Bound Halogen. J Appl Polym Sci, 119, 709 – 718.
• Efthimiou G, Thumser AE, Avignone Rossa CA (2008). A novel finding that Streptomyces clavuligerus can produce the antibiotic clavulanic acid using olive oil as a sole carbon source. J Appl Microbiol, 105, 2058-2064. (doi:10.1111/j.1365-2672.2008.03975.x). Download
• Beste DJV, Laing E, Bonde B, Avignone-Rossa C, Bushell ME, and McFadden JJ (2007) Transcriptomic analysis identifies growth rate modulation as a component of the adaptation of mycobacteria to survival inside the macrophage. J Bacteriol 189, 3969 – 3976
• Rozkov A, Avignone-Rossa CA, Ertl PF, Jones P, O’Kennedy RD, Smith JJ, Dale JW, Bushell ME (2005). Fed batch culture with declining specific growth rate for high-yielding production of a plasmid containing a gene therapy sequence in Escherichia coli DH1. Enz Microbial Technol 39, 47-50
• Beste DJV, Peters J, Hooper T, Avignone-Rossa C, Bushell ME, McFadden J (2005) Compiling a Molecular Inventory for Mycobacterium bovis BCG at Two Growth Rates: Evidence for Growth Rate-Mediated Regulation of Ribosome Biosynthesis and Lipid Metabolism. J Bacteriol 187, 1677 – 1684
• Rozkov A, Avignone-Rossa CA, Ertl PF, Jones P, O’Kennedy RD, Smith JJ, Dale JW, Bushell ME (2004). Characterization of the metabolic burden on Escherichia coli DH1 cells imposed by the presence of a plasmid containing a gene therapy sequence. Biotechnol Bioeng 88, 910-915
• Bushell ME, Rowe M, Avignone-Rossa CA, Wardell JN (2003) Cyclic fed batch culture for production of human serum albumin in Pichia pastoris. Biotechnol Bioeng 82, 678 – 683

Systems Biology and Metabolic Modelling
• Khannapho C, Zhao H, Bonde BK, Kierzek AM, Avignone-Rossa CA, Bushell ME (2008) Selection of objective function in genome scale flux balance analysis for process feed development in antibiotic production. Metabolic Eng 10, 227 – 233
• Beste DJV, Hooper T, Stewart G, Bonde B, Avignone-Rossa C, Bushell ME, Wheeler P, Klamt S, Kierzek AM, McFadden JJ (2007).GSMN-TB: a web-based genome-scale network model of Mycobacterium tuberculosis metabolism. Genome Biol 8:R89 (doi: 10.1186/gb-2007-8-5-r89)
• Bushell ME, Sequeira SIP, Khannapho , Zhao H, Chater KF, Butler MJ, Kierzek AM, Avignone-Rossa CA (2006). The use of genome scale metabolic flux variability analysis for process feed formulation based on an investigation of the effects of the zwf mutation on antibiotic production in Streptomyces coelicolor. Enz Microbial Technol 39, 1347-1353
• Bushell ME, Kirk S, Zhao H, Avignone-Rossa CA (2006) Manipulation of the physiology of clavulanic acid biosynthesis with the aid of metabolic flux analysis. Enz Microbial Technol 39, 149-157
• Avignone-Rossa C, White J, Kuiper A, Postma PW, Bibb M, Teixeira de Mattos MJ (2002). Carbon flux distribution in antibiotic producing chemostat cultures of Streptomyces lividans. Metabolic Eng 4, 138 – 150

Microbial Fuel Cells

• Beecroft N, Zhao F, Varcoe JR, Slade RCT, Thumser A, Avignone-Rossa C (2012). Dynamic changes in the microbial community composition in microbial fuel cells fed with sucrose. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 93, 423 – 437.
• Kim, JR, Beecroft, NJ, Varcoe, JR, Dinsdale, RM, Guwy, AJ, Slade, RC, Thumser, AE, Avignone-Rossa, C and Premier, GC (2011) Spatiotemporal development of the bacterial community in a tubular longitudinal microbial fuel cell. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 90, 1179 – 1191.

• Wu X, Zhao F, Rahunen N, Varcoe JR, Avignone-Rossa C, Thumser AE and Slade RCT (2011) A role for microbial palladium nanoparticles in extracellular electron transfer. Angew Chem Int Ed 50, 427 – 430.
• Wu, X, Zhao, F, Varcoe, JR, Thumser, AE, Avignone-Rossa, C and Slade, RCT (2009) A one-compartment fructose/air biological fuel cell based on direct electron transfer. Biosens Bioelectron 25, 326 – 331
• Wu X, Zhao F, Varcoe JR, Thumser AE, Avignone-Rossa C, Slade RCT (2009) Direct electron transfer of glucose oxidase immobilized in an ionic liquid reconstituted cellulose-carbon nanotube matrix, Bioelectrochem 77, 64 – 68• Zhao F, Rahunen N, Varcoe JR, Roberts AJ, Avignone-Rossa C, Thumser AE, Slade RCT (2008) Factors affecting the performance of microbial fuel cells for sulfur pollutants removal. Biosens Bioelectr 24, 1931–1936 (doi:10.1016/j.bios.2008.09.030). Download
• Zhao F, Rahunen N, Varcoe JR, Chandra A, Avignone-Rossa CA, Thumser AE, Slade RCT (2008). Activated Carbon Cloth as Anode for Sulfate Removal in a Microbial Fuel Cell. Environ Sci Technol 42, 4971 – 4976


Systems Biology (BMS3072)

Biochemistry - Receptors and Energy Metabolism (BMS3052)

Biochemistry: Enzymes and Metabolism (BMS2035)

Microbial Communities and Interactions (BMS2044)

Departmental Duties

Examinations Officer Level 3

Admissions Tutor MSc Medical Microbiology

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