Dr Esteban Marcellin Saldana

UQ Developmnt Fellow & Group Leader

Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology
+61 7 334 64298


Research Interests

  • Industrial Biotechnology for non-model organisms
    Systems biology is a powerful tool to guide the improvement of fermentation processes, to identify targets for metabolic engineering and to develop new microbial production strains. It is a knowledge driven approach that takes advantage of the tremendous growth in high throughput ‘-omics, (genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics) coupled with mathematical models. These models are functional annotations that can be probed to suggest potential metabolic engineering strategies (e.g. gene targets for knock out/up-regulation) to improve yields and productivities. The models are refined and validated using biological ‘–omics data, leading to further iterative rounds of metabolic engineering to enhance production. AIBN’s systems biology goes beyond conventional ‘omics studies and uses phophoproteomics to understand complex cellular behaviours in unconventional microorganisms. For example, propylene and polypropylenes are essential feedstock chemicals and materials for the global chemical industry, producing thousands of products of use in our every day lives. These products include fibers, packaging, automotive parts and, in Australia, even bank notes. Propylene is currently derived from fossil feedstocks as a by-product of the oil refining process. In order to decrease dependence on these finite resources and improve sustainability, the chemical industry is seeking green alternatives to produce propylene. One of our projects aims to produce propylene precursors in a biotechnological fermentation process that is optimised to increase yields and productivities using a systems biology approach.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Science, Instituto Quimico de Sarria


View all Publications


View all Grants


View all Supervision


Book Chapter

  • Marcellin, Esteban, Chen, Wendy Y. and Nielsen, Lars K. (2016). Metabolic pathway engineering for hyaluronic acid production. In Peter Grunwald (Ed.), Handbook of carbohydrate-modifying biocatalysts (pp. 683-696) New York, NY, United States: Pan Stanford Publishing. doi:10.4032/9789814669795

  • Marcellin, Esteban, Chen, Wendy Y. and Nielsen, Lars K. (2012). Metabolic pathway engineering for hyaluronic acid production. In Peter Grundwald (Ed.), Carbohydrate modifying biocatalysts (pp. 571-584) Singapore: Pan Stanford Publishing.

  • Marcellin, Esteban, Chen, Wendy and Nielsen, Lars Keld (2009). Microbial hyaluronic acid biosynthesis. In B.H.A. Rehm (Ed.), Microbial Production of Biopolymers and Polymer Precursors: Applications and Perspectives (pp. 163-180) Norfolk, UK: Caister Academic Press.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

  • Nielsen, Lars Keld, Chen, Wendy and Saldana Marcellin, Esteban Stefane (2010). Production of hyaluronic acid. EP 2195348 A1.

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

Completed Supervision