Dr Axa specialises bioprocesses engineering and systems and synthetic biology

The key component of my research is the integration of microbiology, molecular biology, metabolic engineering and bioprocessing into a systems and synthetic biology approach that can lead to a better understanding of bioprocesses. Either producing biofuels, sustainable chemicals or antibiotics, I have participated in the development of significant contributions, including:

  1. Development of new bioprocess strategies to improve productivities.
  2. Identification of metabolic changes in bacterial strains associated with selective pressure.
  3. Design, construction and evaluation of synthetic genetic circuits, including whole metabolic pathways, to produce high-value chemicals. 

I have made important contributions in my discipline, providing a clearer understanding of cell metabolism, and developed strategies to improve the performance of cell factories using bioprocess strategies and metabolic engineering approaches.

​In 2010 I completed my honours degree (Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology) within the Bioengineering lab at the Interdisciplinary Unit for Biotechnology (UPIBI, IPN, Mexico). I obtained my Master’s degree in 2012, where I specialised in metabolic modelling and bioprocessing. In 2013 I joined the Environmental Biotechnology research group led by Professor Ines Garcia-Pena (UPIBI, IPN) as a Research Assistant. 

In 2013, I moved to Australia and started my PhD studies at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) at The University of Queensland (UQ), under the supervision of A/Prof Esteban Marcellin, Prof Lars Nielsen, and a Prof Mark Turner. During my doctoral studies, I developed strategies to build and engineer cell factories (bacteria and yeast) to produce bulk chemical propionic acid using an engineered pathway from cheese fermenting bacteria (propionibacteria).

As an early-career researcher, I have worked at the ARC-Training Centre for Biopharmaceutical Innovation (ARCT-CBI, 2018), the Queensland Strain Factory (QSF, 2019), ARC Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology (COESB, 2021) and I am currenlty a Senior FermentationEngineer for the Integrated Design Environment for Advanced biomanufacturing (IDEA bio) at AIBN-UQ. 

In 2022, I got awarded an Early and Mid Career Reseracher Seen funding award by the ARC Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology to develop novel biofertiliser using synthetic microbial communitites.In collaboration with collegues from AIBN and SAFS, we also receieved a seed grant from the QAAFI and DAF Zero Net Emissions Grand Challenge Fund to develop a robust pipeline to generate synthetic microbial communities that can reduce NOx emision in farm lands.


​My research has also allowed me to develop collaborations within the ARC Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology, including projects with Macquarie University, Queensland University of Technology; UQ, the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences and internationally with Instituto Politecnico Nacional (Mexico) and Technical University of Denmark (DTU). All these collaborations share a core goal: to build and characterise new microbial cell factories to produce a high-value products: biofuels, biofertilisers, and biopharmaceuticals. 

Key Publications

  1. Gonzalez‐Garcia, R. A., McCubbin, T., Turner, M. S., Nielsen, L. K., & Marcellin, E. (2020). Engineering Escherichia coli for propionic acid production through the Wood–Werkman cycle. Biotechnology and bioengineering, 117(1), 167-183.
  2. Gonzalez-Garcia RA, McCubbin T, Wille A, Plan M, Nielsen LK, Marcellin E. Awakening sleeping beauty: production of propionic acid in Escherichia coli through the sbm operon requires the activity of a methylmalonyl-CoA epimerase. Microbial Cell Factories. 2017 Jul 17;16(1):121. 
  3. Gonzalez-Garcia RA, McCubbin T, Navone L, Stowers C, Nielsen LK, Marcellin E. Microbial Propionic Acid Production. Fermentation. 2017 May 15;3(2):21. 
  4. Gonzalez-Garcia RA, Aispuro-Castro R, Salgado-Manjarrez E, Aranda-Barradas J, Garcia-Peña EI. Metabolic pathway and flux analysis of H 2 production by an anaerobic mixed culture. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy. 2017 Feb 16;42(7):4069-82. 
  5. González-García RA, Garcia-Peña EI, Salgado-Manjarrez E, Aranda-Barradas JS. Metabolic flux distribution and thermodynamic analysis of green fluorescent protein production in recombinant Escherichia coli: The effect of carbon source and CO^ sub 2^ partial pressure. Biotechnology and Bioprocess Engineering: BBE. 2013 Nov 1;18(6):104 
  6. Petersen I, Paungfoo-Lonhienne C, Marcellin E, Nielsen LK, Gonzalez A. Towards sustainable bioinoculants: a fermentation strategy for high cell density cultivation of Paraburkholderia sp. SOS3, a plant growth-promoting bacterium isolated in Queensland, Australia. Fermentation. 2021 Jun;7(2):58.
  7. Fackler N, Heffernan J, Juminaga A, Doser D, Nagaraju S, Gonzalez-Garcia RA, Simpson SD, Marcellin E, Köpke M. Transcriptional Control of Clostridium autoethanogenum using CRISPRi. Synthetic Biology. 2021 Feb 10.
  8. Gonzalez‐Garcia RA, McCubbin T, Turner MS, Nielsen LK, Marcellin E. Engineering Escherichia coli for propionic acid production through the Wood–Werkman cycle. Biotechnology and bioengineering. 2020 Jan;117(1):167-83.
  9. Gonzalez-Garcia RA, McCubbin T, Navone L, Stowers C, Nielsen LK, Marcellin E. Microbial Propionic Acid Production. Fermentation. 2017 May 15;3(2):21
  10. Espinosa MI, Gonzalez-Garcia RA, Valgepea K, Plan MR, Scott C, Pretorius IS, Marcellin E, Paulsen IT, Williams TC. Adaptive laboratory evolution of native methanol assimilation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Nature communications. 2020 Nov 4;11(1):1-2.