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Dr Gary Robinson

Senior Lecturer in Microbial Biotechnology / Senior Commercialisation Manager

School of Biosciences


Dr Gary Robinson is a Senior Lecturer in Microbial Technology within the School of Biosciences and Director of Innovation & Enterprise (0.5 FTE) and is the Senior Commercialisation Manager of the University (O.5 FTE).

Gary has been a lecturer since the 90's and has worked in the field of applied microbiology covering areas as diverse as microbial transformations for the production of high value-added compounds such as drugs and fragrances to the biocontrol of the housefly, Musca domestica. Current research has focused on the understanding and application of quorum sensing within complex microbial systems, the use of biocatalysts within the paper industry and the large scale production of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi. All projects undertaken with MSc and PhD students funded by the University, EU and Industry. Gary has worked with a variety of small and large companies including Pfizer, Smith Kline Beecham, Quest international, Unilever, Reckitt Benckiser, Whatman and Genzyme. Dr Robinson has extensive experience of measuring (trace) analytes from the (bio)pharmaceutical (eg proteins, peptides and drug metabolites) and environmental (eg PCBs, PAHs, volatiles) sectors as well as the enumeration and identification of a wide variety of microbial species (bacterial and fungal) in a diversity of matrices (soil, sediment, food, beverage and clinical).

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Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Caujolle, S. et al. (2017). Speckle variance OCT for depth resolved assessment of the viability of bovine embryos. Biomedical Optics Express [Online] 8:5139-5150. Available at:
Gulbis, N., Robinson-Boyer, L. and Robinson, G. (2013). Studying the microbiome of AMF cultivated in vitro. Aspects of Applied Biology (Positive Plant Microbial Interactions: Their role in maintaining sustainable and natural ecosystems) 120:71-76.
Akowuah, E. et al. (2012). Numerical analysis of a photonic crystal fiber for biosensing applications. Journal of Quantum Electronics [Online] 48:1403-1410. Available at:
Piletska, E. et al. (2011). Passive Control of Quorum Sensing: Prevention ofPseudomonas aeruginosaBiofilm Formation by Imprinted Polymers. Biomacromolecules [Online] 12:1067-1071. Available at:
Hall, R. et al. (2010). CO(2) acts as a signalling molecule in populations of the fungal pathogen Candida albicans. PLoS Pathogens [Online] 6:e1001193. Available at:
Piletska, E. et al. (2010). Attenuation of Vibrio fischeri Quorum Sensing Using Rationally Designed Polymers. Biomacromolecules [Online] 11:975-980. Available at:
Ilori, M., Robinson, G. and Adebusoye, S. (2008). Aerobic mineralization of 4,4 '-dichlorobiphenyl and 4-chlorobenzoic acid by a novel natural bacterial strain that grows poorly on benzoate and biphenyl. World Journal of Microbiology & Biotechnology [Online] 24:1259-1265. Available at:
Ilori, M., Robinson, G. and Adebusoye, S. (2008). Degradation and mineralization of 2-chloro-, 3-chloro- and 4-chlorobiphenyl by a newly characterized natural bacterial strain isolated from an electrical transformer fluid-contaminated soil. Journal of Environmental Sciences-China 20:1250-1257.
Weeks, M. et al. (2006). Monitoring changes in nisin susceptibility of Listeria monocytogenes Scott A as an indicator of growth phase using FACS. Journal of Microbiological Methods [Online] 66:43-55. Available at:
Verdin, A. et al. (2005). Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons storage by Fusarium solani in intracellular lipid vesicles. Environmental Pollution [Online] 133:283-291. Available at:
Weeks, M. et al. (2004). Global changes in gene expression observed at the transition from growth to stationary phase in Listeria monocytogenes ScottA batch culture. Proteomics [Online] 4:123-135. Available at:
Radianingtyas, H., Robinson, G. and Bull, A. (2003). Bacterial community structure and physiological state in a biofilm reactor degrading 4-chloroaniline. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 62:423-429.
Radianingtyas, H., Robinson, G. and Bull, A. (2003). Characterization of a soil-derived bacterial consortium degrading 4-chloroaniline. Microbiology [Online] 149:3279-3287. Available at:
Klappa, P. et al. (2001). The pancreas-specific protein disulphide-isomerase PDIp interacts with a hydroxyaryl group in ligands. Biochemical Journal [Online] 354:553-559. Available at:
Ilori, M., Amund, D. and Robinson, G. (2000). Ultrastructure of two oil-degrading bacteria isolated from the tropical soil environment. Folia Microbiologica [Online] 45:259-262. Available at:
Book section
Akowuah, E. et al. (2012). A Novel Compact Photonic Crystal Fibre Surface Plasmon Resonance Biosensor for an Aqueous Environment. in: Massaro, A. ed. Photonic Crystals - Innovative Systems, Lasers and Waveguides. InTech. Available at:
Conference or workshop item
Caujolle, S. et al. (2018). Assessing embryo development using swept source optical coherence tomography. in: Podoleanu, A. G. H. and Bang, O. eds. Second Canterbury Conference on Optical Coherence Tomography, 2017, Canterbury, United Kingdom. SPIE, p. . Available at:
Carr, H. et al. (2018). Communicating Research: From Idea to Impact. in: Maximise Your Research Impact 2018.
Alston, M., Robinson, G. and Johnson, C. (2003). Colour merging for the visualization of biomolecular sequence data. in: Banissi, E. et al. eds. 7th International Conference on Information Visualization (IV 2003). IEEE COMPUTER SOC, 10662 LOS VAQUEROS CIRCLE, PO BOX 3014, LOS ALAMITOS, CA 90720-1264 USA, pp. 169-175. Available at:
Robinson, G. (2008). Polymer Inhibitors of Quorum Sensing. [Online]. Available at:
Robinson, G. and Rising, H. (2007). Proteins involved in signal transduction. [Online]. Available at:
Robinson, G. and Rising, H. (2007). Proteins Involved In Quorum Sensing. [Online]. Available at:
Robinson, G. and Rising, H. (2005). Proteins Involved in signal transduction. [Online]. Available at:
Showing 23 of 33 total publications in KAR. [See all in KAR]
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Work in the laboratory has focussed on the cultivation, characterisation and application of a range of biocatalysts for a variety of end uses. With support from a range of funders (industry, EU and University in recent times) the group has investigated a range of projects that have relevance to industry, health and the environment.

Current research focuses on inter-microbial (e.g. bacteria/fungi and bacteria /algae) communication in attached and planktonic cultures. Extending from this is to better understand and characterise the composition and communication (e.g. with quorum sensing and outer membrane vesicle [OMV]) of microbial communication systems in Gram negative (e.g. E.coli) and Gram positive (e.g. Streptomyces) bacteria. Currently the following systems are under investigation:

(i) Microalgal / bacterial – working with Algaecytes as part of a BBSRC FLIP we are trying to understand the (temporal) composition and interactions in their proprietary microalgal strains when grown under a variety of growth conditions, from bench to large scale PBR (photobioreactor). Microbiome is being characterised by community RFLP using a range of 16S rRNA and other functional probes followed by sequencing.

(ii) Outer membrane vesicle (OMV) synthesis – funded by an EARC SynBio Studentship to Sarah Blackburn, working to understand the biogenesis, molecular composition and function of OMVs in a variety of systems, principally from Burkholderia cenocepacia, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Escherichia coli. The proteome and nucleic acid (NA) composition of the arising OMVs are being characterised in inter-microbial systems to better understand their function and underpin their modification by synthetic biology for application as biocatalysts for vaccines etc.

(iii) The microbiome of overactive bladder syndrome (OBS) – as part of an MD study and working along with urogynaecology clinicians at The Medway NHS Foundation Trust we are investigating the causes of OBS and possible implication of associated microbiota/ microbiome in the aetiology of the disease. Microbiome is being characterised by community RFLP using a range of 16S rRNA and other functional probes followed by sequencing.

Recent projects within the laboratory have investigated the following:

Understanding virulence regulation and intermicrobial interactions in the fungal pathogen Candida albicans

The PhD project was undertaken by Ms Luisa De Sordi, a University Scholarship holder, and investigated the use of Drosophila melanogaster as a model for C. albicans infection. Specific transcriptional regulators were identified in the screen. Additionally, the communicome that exists on solid media between 2 co-existing pathogens, Candida albicans and Burkholderia cenocepacia, was studied.


The role of tfdK in 2,4D metabolism in the bacterium Burkholderia cepacia Strain 2a

The PhD project was undertaken by Ms Qiaoyi Lin, an EU scholarship holder, and investigated the regulation of 24D metabolism in B. cepacia 2a. The plasmid borne metabolism of the haloaromatic pesticide was studied in a range of culture conditions and the role of tfdK, a putative aromatic transporter was investigated.


Investigations into the in vitro cultivation of Glomus intraradices spores

The part time MSc (by research) was undertaken by Mrs Natalia Gulbis with funding from her employer, PlantWorks Ltd., an SME based at Kent Science Park. The study investigated the factors that influence the in vitro cultivation of the sought after spores of this Arbuscular Mycorrhizal fungus. This method of cultivation highlighted a possible role for an associated microbiome and the cultivation was compared and contrasted with that undertaken in planta.


Use of biocatalysts in the manufacture of high value papers

This MSc (by research) was undertaken by Ms Agnieszka Wieckowska with funding from Arjowiggins. The project investigated the role of enzymes in the processing of pulp and paper. The application of such enzymes highlighted the binding and catalytic events that underpin the processing of an insoluble, non-homogenous substrate such as cellulose and work is ongoing to characterise this further.




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Year 1

  • BI308 Skills for Bioscientists
  • BI323 – Biodiversity

Year 2

  • BI548 – Microbial Physiology & Genetics I
  • BI521 – Metabolism and Metabolic Regulation

Year 3

  • BI606 – Pathogens & Pathogenicity
  • BI628 - Microbial Physiology & Genetics II
  • BI600 Projects – Range of laboratory, communication and dissertation projects but principal supervisor for all Business Plan projects

MSc modules

  • BI841 – The Science of Reproductive Medicine
  • EL885 / EL878 / EL849 – Research Methods modules in Engineering & Digital Arts
  • Graduate School Modules in Ideation and Intellectual property
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Gary is seconded for half his time to Kent Innovation and Enterprise where he acts as the Senior Commercialisation Manager for the University. In this role Gary and his team have been responsible for the protection and exploitation of a variety of technologies, principally those arising from Engineering & Digital Arts, Biosciences, Computing and SPS. This has realised revenues in fields as diverse as antenna components in the Volvo XC90 and the production of biopharmaceuticals. Gary is additionally the Director of Enterprise within the School of Biosciences primarily managing the protection and exploitation of arising IP within the School – please contact him at if you’d like to know more.

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Enquiries: Phone: +44 (0)1227 823743

School of Biosciences, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NJ

Last Updated: 12/01/2018