Robert Falconer

Professor Robert Falconer

Professor

School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials

Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences


Grain

Barley, brewing and beer is an area of personal and professional interest. I am interested in determining the quality markers in barley that go on to dictate malt and later beer quality. We are planning to adapt Quality by Design principles to agriculture and food/beverage processing so we can measure and guarantee malting barley quality to the benefit of the grower, merchant, maltster and brewer. On a personal level I find the history and development of brewing fascinating. The old brewing technology and malted materials would have produced different beers with unique sensory attributes that have long been lost.

Grain (including barley, canola, sorghum) contains anti-nutritional compounds; phytate and the polyphenolics. These molecules interfere with nutrition, and can reduce growth rates and meat yields in domestic animals like pigs, poultry and salmon. We are interested in different approaches to digest or extract the anti-nutritional compounds and improve the quality of the animal feed. 

Potential postgraduate projects could include:

  • Identification of the flavour precursors in malt and barley which dictate finished beer sensory attributes.
  • Characterisation of the key enzymes in malt that dictate the alcohol, residual sugar and sensory properties in finished beer.
  • Detection and elimination of anti-nutritional compounds in grain.

 

Wine and Grapes

We are interested in improving the technology associated with the winemaking process. The unit operations; cold stabilization, bentonite fining and flotation all have scope for refinement or replacement to make winery operations simpler or more efficient. In the past we identified chitinase as the key protein causing heat-induced hazes in white wines. The elimination of the need for bentonite fining from winemaking should be achievable and is worth further investigation.

Potential postgraduate projects could include:

  • Engineering the next generation of unit operations for elimination of heat-inducted haze in wine.
  • Combining molecular dynamic simulation and experimentation to understand the molecular basis of tartrate crystal formation in wine.

 

Therapeutic Proteins

I have published extensively on the subject of liquid formulation of therapeutic proteins. Creation of successful formulations has been a "black art" but a better understanding of the interactions between proteins, their cosolutes (excipients) and water makes formulation more predictable and removes some of the mystery from this commercially important operation. 

Potential postgraduate projects could include:

  • Continuous aqueous two-phase separation of  therapeutic proteins.
  • Aqueous-two phase separation of erythrocytes for use in the production of synthetic blood.
  • Use of far-infrared spectroscopy to study the interaction of excipients in liquid formulations of therapeutic proteins
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  • Journals

    Year Citation
    2019 Watrelot, A., Day, M., Schulkin, A., Falconer, R., Smith, P., Waterhouse, A., & Bindon, K. (2019). Oxygen exposure during red wine fermentation modifies tannin reactivity with poly-L-proline. Food Chemistry, 297, 7 pages.
    DOI
    2019 Toronjo Urquiza, L., James, D. C., Nagy, T., & Falconer, R. J. (2019). Screening Naturally Occurring Phenolic Antioxidants for Their Suitability as Additives to CHO Cell Culture Media Used to Produce Monoclonal Antibodies.. Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland), 8(6), 1-18.
    DOI
    2019 Falconer, R. (2019). Advances in liquid formulations of parenteral therapeutic proteins. Biotechnology Advances, 37(7).
    DOI
    2017 Bye, J., Freeman, C., Howard, J., Herz, G., McGregor, J., & Falconer, R. (2017). Analysis of Mesoscopic Structured 2-Propanol/Water Mixtures Using Pressure Perturbation Calorimetry and Molecular Dynamic Simulation. Journal of Solution Chemistry, 46(1), 175-189.
    DOI Scopus3 WoS3
    2017 Darby, S. J., Platts, L., Daniel, M. S., Cowieson, A. J., & Falconer, R. J. (2017). An isothermal titration calorimetry study of phytate binding to lysozyme. Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry, 127(2), 1201-1208.
    DOI Scopus11 WoS10
    2017 Song, W., Muthana, M., Mukherjee, J., Falconer, R. J., Biggs, C. A., & Zhao, X. (2017). Magnetic-Silk Core–Shell Nanoparticles as Potential Carriers for Targeted Delivery of Curcumin into Human Breast Cancer Cells. ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering, 3(6), 1027-1038.
    DOI Scopus11 WoS12
    2016 Falconer, R. J. (2016). Applications of isothermal titration calorimetry - the research and technical developments from 2011 to 2015. Journal of Molecular Recognition, 29(10), 504-515.
    DOI Scopus25 WoS23 Europe PMC9
    2016 Bye, J. W., Baxter, N. J., Hounslow, A. M., Falconer, R. J., & Williamson, M. P. (2016). Molecular Mechanism for the Hofmeister Effect Derived from NMR and DSC Measurements on Barnase. ACS Omega, 1(4), 669-679.
    DOI Scopus10 WoS10
    2016 Platts, L., Darby, S. J., & Falconer, R. J. (2016). Control of Globular Protein Thermal Stability in Aqueous Formulations by the Positively Charged Amino Acid Excipients. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 105(12), 3532-3536.
    DOI Scopus3 WoS2 Europe PMC1
    2016 Png, G. M., Falconer, R. J., & Abbott, D. (2016). Tracking aggregation and fibrillation of globular proteins using terahertz and far-infrared spectroscopies. IEEE Transactions on Terahertz Science and Technology, 6(1), 45-53.
    DOI Scopus12 WoS11
    2016 Kilmister, R., Faulkner, P., Downey, M., Darby, S., & Falconer, R. (2016). The complexity of condensed tannin binding to bovine serum albumin - An isothermal titration calorimetry study. Food Chemistry, 190, 173-178.
    DOI Scopus21 WoS22 Europe PMC6
    2016 Raphael, A., Crichton, M., Falconer, R., Meliga, S., Chen, X., Fernando, G., . . . Kendall, M. (2016). Formulations for microprojection/microneedle vaccine delivery: Structure, strength and release profiles. Journal of Controlled Release, 225, 40-52.
    DOI Scopus24 WoS23 Europe PMC11
    2015 Wallace, V., Ferachou, D., Ke, P., Day, K., Uddin, S., Casas-Finet, J., . . . Zeitler, J. (2015). Modulation of the Hydration Water Around Monoclonal Antibodies on Addition of Excipients Detected by Terahertz Time-Domain Spectroscopy. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 104(12), 4025-4033.
    DOI Scopus5 WoS6 Europe PMC2
    2015 Bye, J., & Falconer, R. (2015). A study of the relationship between water and anions of the Hofmeister series using pressure perturbation calorimetry. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 17(21), 14130-14137.
    DOI Scopus5 WoS4 Europe PMC3
    2015 Van Sluyter, S., McRae, J., Falconer, R., Smith, P., Bacic, A., Waters, E., & Marangon, M. (2015). Wine protein haze: Mechanisms of formation and advances in prevention. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 63(16), 4020-4030.
    DOI Scopus57 WoS51 Europe PMC9
    2015 Platts, L., & Falconer, R. (2015). Controlling protein stability: Mechanisms revealed using formulations of arginine, glycine and guanidinium HCl with three globular proteins. International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 486(1-2), 131-135.
    DOI Scopus19 WoS17 Europe PMC12
    2014 Bye, J., & Falconer, R. (2014). Three stages of lysozyme thermal stabilization by high and medium charge density anions. Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 118(16), 4282-4286.
    DOI Scopus14 WoS14 Europe PMC8
    2014 Bye, J., Platts, L., & Falconer, R. (2014). Biopharmaceutical liquid formulation: A review of the science of protein stability and solubility in aqueous environments. Biotechnology Letters, 36(5), 869-875.
    DOI Scopus20 WoS18 Europe PMC9
    2014 Bye, J., Meliga, S., Ferachou, D., Cinque, G., Zeitler, J., & Falconer, R. (2014). Analysis of the hydration water around bovine serum albumin using terahertz coherent synchrotron radiation. Journal of Physical Chemistry A, 118(1), 83-88.
    DOI Scopus47 WoS49 Europe PMC20
    2013 Meliga, S., Farrugia, W., Ramsland, P., & Falconer, R. (2013). Cold-induced precipitation of a monoclonal IgM: a negative activation enthalpy reaction. Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 117(2), 490-494.
    DOI Scopus5 WoS5 Europe PMC2
    2013 Bye, J., Cowieson, N., Cowieson, A., Selle, P., & Falconer, R. (2013). Dual effects of sodium phytate on the structural stability and solubility of proteins. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 61(2), 290-295.
    DOI Scopus19 WoS19 Europe PMC5
    2013 Bye, J., & Falconer, R. (2013). Thermal stability of lysozyme as a function of ion concentration: A reappraisal of the relationship between the Hofmeister series and protein stability. Protein Science, 22(11), 1563-1570.
    DOI Scopus45 WoS42 Europe PMC25
    2012 Falconer, R., & Markelz, A. (2012). Terahertz spectroscopic analysis of peptides and proteins. Journal of Infrared, Millimeter, and Terahertz Waves, 33(10), 973-988.
    DOI Scopus99 WoS95
    2012 Ghai, R., Falconer, R., & Collins, B. (2012). Applications of isothermal titration calorimetry in pure and applied research - survey of the literature from 2010. Journal of Molecular Recognition, 25(1), 32-52.
    DOI Scopus114 WoS113 Europe PMC50
    2012 Falconer, R. (2012). Terahertz spectroscopy's application to protein chemistry. Spectroscopy Europe, 24(2), 12-14.
    Scopus1
    2012 Ding, T., Middelberg, A., Huber, T., & Falconer, R. (2012). Far-infrared spectroscopy analysis of linear and cyclic peptides, and lysozyme. Vibrational Spectroscopy, 61, 144-150.
    DOI Scopus20 WoS21
    2011 Ding, T., Huber, T., Middelberg, A., & Falconer, R. (2011). Characterization of low-frequency modes in aqueous peptides using far-infrared spectroscopy and molecular dynamics simulation. Journal of Physical Chemistry A, 115(42), 11559-11565.
    DOI Scopus25 WoS24 Europe PMC14
    2011 Zakaria, H., Fischer, B., Bradley, A., Jones, I., Abbott, D., Middelberg, A., & Falconer, R. (2011). Low-frequency spectroscopic analysis of monomeric and fibrillar lysozyme. Applied Spectroscopy, 65(3), 260-264.
    DOI Scopus15 WoS13 Europe PMC6
    2011 Falconer, R., & Collins, B. (2011). Survey of the year 2009: Applications of isothermal titration calorimetry. Journal of Molecular Recognition, 24(1), 1-16.
    DOI Scopus40 WoS40 Europe PMC19
    2011 Marangon, M., Van Sluyter, S., Neilson, K., Chan, C., Haynes, P., Waters, E., & Falconer, R. (2011). Roles of grape thaumatin-like protein and chitinase in white wine haze formation. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 59(2), 733-740.
    DOI Scopus50 WoS46 Europe PMC16
    2011 Falconer, R., Jackson-Matthews, D., & Mahler, S. (2011). Analytical strategies for assessing comparability of biosimilars. Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology, 86(7), 915-922.
    DOI Scopus16 WoS17
    2011 Falconer, R., Chan, C., Hughes, K., & Munro, T. (2011). Stabilization of a monoclonal antibody during purification and formulation by addition of basic amino acid excipients. Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology, 86(7), 942-948.
    DOI Scopus30 WoS30
    2010 Falconer, R., Penkova, A., Jelesarov, I., & Collins, B. (2010). Survey of the year 2008: Applications of isothermal titration calorimetry. Journal of Molecular Recognition, 23(5), 395-413.
    DOI Scopus42 WoS37 Europe PMC18
    2010 Falconer, R., Marangon, M., Van Sluyter, S., Neilson, K., Chan, C., & Waters, E. (2010). Thermal stability of thaumatin-like protein, chitinase, and invertse isolated from sauvignon blanc and semillon juice and their role in haze formation in wine. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 58(2), 975-980.
    DOI Scopus62 WoS56 Europe PMC18
    2010 McRae, J., Falconer, R., & Kennedy, J. (2010). Thermodynamics of grape and wine tannin interaction with polyproline: Implications for red wine astringency. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 58(23), 12510-12518.
    DOI Scopus68 WoS67 Europe PMC17
    2010 Falconer, R., Zakaria, H., Fan, Y., Bradley, A., & Middelberg, A. (2010). Far-infrared spectroscopy of protein higher-order structures. Applied Spectroscopy, 64(11), 1259-1264.
    DOI Scopus27 WoS26 Europe PMC11
    2010 Ding, T., Li, R., Zeitler, J., Huber, T., Gladden, L., Middelberg, A., & Falconer, R. (2010). Terahertz and far infrared Spectroscopy of alanine-rich peptides having variable ellipticity. Optics Express, 18(26), 27431-27444.
    DOI Scopus43 WoS42 Europe PMC16
    2009 Kaar, W., Hartmann, B., Fan, Y., Zeng, B., Lua, L., Dexter, A., . . . Middelberg, A. (2009). Microbial bio-production of a recombinant stimuli-responsive biosurfactant. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 102(1), 176-187.
    DOI Scopus15 WoS15 Europe PMC8
    2009 Hartmann, B., Kaar, W., Yoo, I., Lua, L., Falconer, R., & Middelberg, A. (2009). The chromatography-free release, isolation and purification of recombinant peptide for fibril self-assembly. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 104(5), 973-985.
    DOI Scopus15 WoS15 Europe PMC7
    2009 Png, G., Falconer, R., Fischer, B., Zakaria, H., Mickan, S., Middleberg, A., & Abbott, D. (2009). Terahertz spectroscopic differentiation of microstructures in protein gels. Clinical Research in Cardiology, 17(15), 13102-13115.
    DOI Scopus31 WoS25 Europe PMC8
    2008 Hartmann, B., Kaar, W., Falconer, R., Zeng, B., & Middelberg, A. (2008). Expression and purification of a nanostructure-forming peptide. Journal of Biotechnology, 135(1), 85-91.
    DOI Scopus18 WoS17 Europe PMC11
    2008 Hanslip, S., Zaccai, N., Middelberg, A., & Falconer, R. (2008). Intrinsic fluorescence as an analytical probe of virus-like particle assembly and maturation. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 375(3), 351-355.
    DOI Scopus16 WoS13 Europe PMC5
    2007 Mercadé-Prieto, R., Sahoo, P., Falconer, R., Paterson, W., & Ian Wilson, D. (2007). Polyelectrolyte screening effects on the dissolution of whey protein gels at high pH conditions. Food Hydrocolloids, 21(8), 1275-1284.
    DOI Scopus25 WoS24 Europe PMC4
    2007 Mercadé-Prieto, R., Falconer, R., Paterson, W., & Wilson, D. (2007). Swelling and dissolution of β-lactoglobulin gels in alkali. Biomacromolecules, 8(2), 469-476.
    DOI Scopus39 WoS40 Europe PMC7
    2007 Zaccai, N., Yunus, K., Matthews, S., Fisher, A., & Falconer, R. (2007). Refolding of a membrane protein in a microfluidics reactor. European Biophysics Journal, 36(6), 581-588.
    DOI Scopus6 WoS4 Europe PMC4
    2006 Falconer, R., Liebich, B., & Hart, A. (2006). Automated color sorting of hand-harvested chardonnay. American Journal of Enology and Viticulture, 57(4), 491-496.
    Scopus5 WoS5
    2006 Mercadé-Prieto, R., Falconer, R., Paterson, W., & Wilson, D. (2006). Effect of gel structure on the dissolution of heat-induced β-lactoglobulin gels in alkali. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 54(15), 5437-5444.
    DOI Scopus30 WoS28 Europe PMC6
    2006 Hanslip, S., Zaccai, N., Middelberg, A., & Falconer, R. (2006). Assembly of human papillomavirus type-16 virus-like particles: Multifactorial study of assembly and competing aggregation. Biotechnology Progress, 22(2), 554-560.
    DOI Scopus28 WoS23 Europe PMC15
    1999 Falconer, R., O'Neill, B., & Middelberg, A. (1999). Chemical treatment of Escherichia coli: 3. Selective extraction of a recombinant protein from cytoplasmic inclusion bodies in intact cells. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 62(4), 455-460.
    DOI Scopus26 Europe PMC17
    1999 Falconer, R., O'Neill, B., & Middelberg, A. (1999). Chemical treatment of escherichia coli: 3 selective extraction of a recombinant protein from cytoplasmic inclusion bodies in intact cells. Biotechmology and Bioengineering, 62(4), 455-460.
    DOI WoS25
    1998 Falconer, R., O'Neill, B., & Middelberg, A. (1998). Chemical Treatment of Escherichia coli. II Direct extraction of recombinant protein from cytoplasmic inclusion bodies in intact cells. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 57(4), 381-386.
    DOI WoS28
    1998 Falconer, R., O'Neill, B., & Middelberg, A. (1998). Chemical treatment of escherichia coli. II. Direct extraction of recombinant protein from cytoplasmic inclusion bodies in intact cells. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 57(4), 381-386.
    DOI Scopus31 Europe PMC13
    1997 Falconer, R., O'Neill, B., & Middelberg, A. (1997). Chemical Treatment of Escherichia coli: 1. Extraction of Intracellular Protein from Uninduced Cells. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 53(5), 453-458.
    DOI Scopus37 WoS35 Europe PMC16
    1997 Wangsa-Wirawan, N., Lee, Y., Falconer, R., Mansell, C., O'Neill, B., & Middelberg, A. (1997). Novel fed-batch strategy for the production of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). Biotechnology Letters, 19(11), 1079-1082.
    DOI Scopus9 WoS8
  • Conference Papers

    Year Citation
    2019 Chandler, E., Falconer, R., & Brown, S. (2019). Optimisation of Aqueous Two-Phase Systems. In 29th European Symposium on Computer Aided Chemical Engineering Vol. 46 (pp. 283-288). Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier.
    DOI
    2013 Ding, T., Middelberg, A., Bye, J., & Falconer, R. (2013). Can Terahertz time-domain spectroscopy detect an extended hydration layer around peptides?. In International Conference on Infrared, Millimeter, and Terahertz Waves, IRMMW-THz (pp. 1-2). Online: IEEE.
    DOI
    2013 Ding, T., Middelberg, A., & Falconer, R. (2013). Secondary structure evident in the far infrared spectra of peptides. In International Conference on Infrared, Millimeter, and Terahertz Waves, IRMMW-THz (pp. 1-2). Online: IEEE.
    DOI
    2009 Li, R., Ding, T., Huber, T., Falconer, R., Middelberg, A., Gladden, L., & Zeitler, J. (2009). Terahertz time-domain spectroscopy of peptides in solution. In 34th International Conference on Infrared, Millimeter, and Terahertz Waves, IRMMW-THz 2009 (pp. 544-+). Busan, SOUTH KOREA: IEEE.
    DOI
    2006 Mercadé-Prieto, R., Falconer, R., Paterson, W., & Wilson, D. (2006). Probing the mechanisms limiting dissolution of whey protein gels during cleaning. In Food and Bioproducts Processing Vol. 84 (pp. 311-319). Jesus Coll, Cambridge, ENGLAND: INST CHEMICAL ENGINEERS.
    DOI Scopus8 WoS7

I teach Bioprocess Engineering. The material covers the unit operations associated with the manufacture of therapeutic proteins, diagnostics and vaccines. The latest development in regulatory compliance, Quality by Design, PAT and continuous manufacturing are covered.

 

Current courses

CHEM ENG 4036 Pharmaceutical Process Validation and Quality

 

Future Teaching

CHEM ENG 7063 Good Manufacturing Practice, Validation and Regulation

CHEM ENG 7061 Quality by Design and Process Analytical Technology

 

Primary PhD student supervision 

Jordan Bye (thermodynamics of protein stability) graduated 2015.  

Samuel Darby (heterotropic multisite binding to proteins) graduated 2017. 

Lauren Platts (protein stabilisation by small organic molecules) graduated 2017. 

Kimberly Hansford (protein instability during expression) passed viva 2019. 

Luis Toronjo Urquiza (difficult to express proteins) passed viva 2019. 

Niall Bradshaw (phosphate recovery) started 2015. 

Theofilus Kempapidis (phytate-protein interactions) started 2015. 

Emilio Pliego Garcia (brewing, beer-omics) started 2016. 

Jose Hernandez Garvan (anaerobic digestion) started Sept 2017. 

Hayden Hodges (tannin-protein interactions) started Sept 2017. 

 

Active secondary supervision 

Lee Eales (medieval brewing). Primary supervisor is Prof Duncan Cameron (Animal & Plant Science, U. Sheff), co-supervisor is Prof Caroline Jackson (Archaeology, U. Sheff). 

Emma Chandler (aqueous two-phase extraction). Primary supervisor is Dr Solomon Brown (Chemical & Biological Engineering, U. Sheff).

Ruben Kempka (adhesion loss on rail track). Primary supervisor is Prof Roger Lewis (Mechanical Engineering, U. Sheff). 

Ryan Taylor (public engagement). Primary Supervisor is Prof Nicola Dibben (Music, U. Sheff), co-supervisor Prof Duncan Cameron (Animal & Plant Science, U. Sheff). 

Nicholas Groat (archaeology of distillation). Primary supervisor is Prof Caroline Jackson (Archaeology, U. Sheff).

  • Position: Professor
  • Phone: 83134179
  • Email: robert.falconer@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Engineering North, floor 1
  • Room: N1 09
  • Org Unit: School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials

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