Research Network for Metals in Medicine



Associate Professor Rick Cavicchioli

BSc Hons, MSc, PhD

Position: Senior lecturer

Affiliation: School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, University of New South Wales

Postal Address:
School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences
The University of New South Wales
Sydney, NSW 2052

Phone: +61 (2) 9385 3516
Fax: +61 (2) 9385 2742

Research Profile

The broad theme is extremophiles and adaptation to extreme environments; including cold adaptation in Antarctic archaea and low nutrient adaptation in marine oligotrophic ultramicrobacteria. The research strategy is based on genomics and phenomics, involving extensive national and overseas collaborations. Genome sequencing projects include the cold adapted archaea, Methanogenium frigidum and Methanococcoides burtonii. Microbial oligotrophy is studied through molecular and physiological studies of the marine ultramicrobacterium, Sphingopyxis alaskensis (formerly Sphingomonas). Genomics underpins programs of bioinformatics leading to global proteomic, microarray and metabolomic analyses and targeted studies of gene structure, function and regulation. A commerical arm of the work exploits the unique properties of extremozymes, and utilises novel methods for improving the thermal properties of enzymes that are important in industrial, agricultural and medical applications.

Selected Publications

  1. Saunders, N., Thomas, T., Curmi, P.M.G., Mattick, J.S., Kuczek, E., Slade, R., Davis, J., Franzmann, P.D., Boone, D., Rusterholtz, K., Feldman, R., Gates, C., Bench, S., Sowers, K., Kadner, K., Aerts, A., Dehal, P., Detter, C., Glavina, T., Lucas, S., Richardson, P., Larimer, F., Hauser, L., Land, M. and Cavicchioli, R. 2003. Mechanisms of thermal adaptation revealed from the genomes of the Antarctic Archaea, Methanogenium frigidum and Methanococcoides burtonii. Genome Research 13: 1580-1588.
  2. Cavicchioli, R., Ostrowski, M., Fegatella, F., Goodchild, A. and Guixa-Boixereu, N. 2003. Life under nutrient limitation in oligotrophic marine environments: an eco/physiological perspective of Sphingopyxis alaskensis (formerly Sphingomonas alaskensis). Microbial Ecology 45: 203-217.
  3. Cavicchioli, R. 2002. Extremophiles and the search for extra-terrestrial life. Astrobiology 2: 281-292.
  4. Cavicchioli, R., Siddiqui, K.S., Andrews, D. and Sowers, K.R. 2002. Low-temperature extremophiles and their applications. Current Opinion in Biotechnology 13: 253-261.