Staff profile

Dr Ashley Edwin Franks

Senior Lecturer, Laboratory Head

Faculty of Science, Technology and Engineering
School of Life Sciences
Department of Microbiology

Thomas Cherry Building, Melbourne (Bundoora)


BSc (Hons) (UNSW) PhD (UNSW)

Membership of professional associations


Area of study

Environmental Science

Brief profile

Previous Professional Experience

  • 2008-2011: Associate Research Professor, Geobacter Project, UNiversity of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, Massachussetts, USA>
  • 2007-2008: Senior Research Scientist, Geobacter Project, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts, USA.
  • 2005-2007: Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellow in Science, Engineering and Technology. Department of Microbiology, National University of Ireland, University College Cork (UCC), Cork, Ireland.
  • 2005: Postdoctoral Research Scientist.Department of Microbiology, National University of Ireland, University College Cork (UCC), Cork, Ireland.


  • 2011 Young Investigator Award. Centre for Biofilm Engineering, Montana State University
  • 2006 Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellowship in Science, Engineering and Technology, Ireland
  • 2004 Pro-Vice Chancellor (Institutional Advancement) High Achiever Award, The University of New South Wales, Australia

Media-Science Interactions


Teaching units





Bioremediation, Biotechnology, Microbial Electric Systems, Applied and Environmental Microbiology

Recent publications

(i)    Scholarly book chapters

1.    Hensly, S. A., Vargas, M., and Franks, A.E. (2012) The Microbiology of Microbial Electric Systems. In Microbial Biotechnology: Energy and Environment. Editor: R. Arora. CABI Publishing, Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK

2.    Miller, S. H., Mark, G. L., Franks, A. and O'Gara, F. (2008). Pseudomonas-Plant interactions. In Pseudomonas: Model organism, pathogen, cell factory, pp. 353-376. Editor: B. H. A. Rehm. Weinheim, Germany: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA.

3.    Franks, A., Ryan, R., Abbas, A., Mark, L., and F. O'Gara. (2006), Molecular tools for studying plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR). In: The Molecular Approaches to Soil, Rhizosphere and Plant Microorganisms. Editors: Cooper and Rao. Pp 131-151. CABI Publishing, Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK

(ii)    Refereed journal articles

4.     Zhang, T., H. Nie, T. S. Bain, H. Lu, M. Cui, O. L. Snoeyenbos-West, A. E. Franks, K. P. Nevin, T. P. Russell and D. R. Lovley. (2013). Improved cathode materials for microbial electrosynthesis. Energy and Environmental Science, 6: 217-224

5.     Malvankar NS, J. Lau, K. P. Nevin, A. E. Franks, M. T. Tuominen and D. R.  Lovley. (2012). Electrical conductivity in a mixed-species biofilm. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 78(16):5967-71

6.     Franks A. E., R. Glaven, R and D. R. Lovely, (2012). Real-Time Spatial Gene Expression Analysis within Current-Producing Biofilms. ChemSusChem. 5(6):1092-8.

7.     Inoue, K., C. Leang, A. E. Franks, T. L. Woodard, K. P. Nevin, and D. R. Lovley (2011) Specific localization of the c-type cytochrome omcz at the anode surface in current-producing biofilms of Geobacter sulfurreducens. Environmental Microbiology Reports. 3(2):211-217.

8.     Lovley, D. R., T. Ueki, T. Zhang, N. S. Malvankar, P. M. Shrestha, K. A. Flanagan, M. Aklujkar, J. E. Butler, L. Giloteaux, A. E. Rotaru, D. E. Holmes, A. E. Franks, R. Orellana, C. Risso, and K. P. Nevin (2011) Geobacter: The microbe electric's physiology, ecology, and practical applications. Advances in microbial physiology. 59:1-100.

9.     Malvankar, N. S., M. Vargas, K. P. Nevin, A. E. Franks, C. Leang, B. C. Kim, K. Inoue, T. Mester, S. F. Covalla, J. P. Johnson, V. M. Rotello, M. T. Tuominen, and D. R. Lovley (2011) Tunable metallic-like conductivity in microbial nanowire networks. Nature nanotechnology. 6(9):573-579.

10.     Morita, M., N. S. Malvankar, A. E. Franks, Z. M. Summers, L. Giloteaux, A. E. Rotaru, C. Rotaru, and D. R. Lovley (2011) Potential for direct interspecies electron transfer in methanogenic wastewater digester aggregates. mBio. 2(4):e00159-00111.

11.     Nevin, K. P., S. A. Hensley, A. E. Franks, Z. M. Summers, J. Ou, T. L. Woodard, O. L. Snoeyenbos-West, and D. R. Lovley (2011) Electrosynthesis of organic compounds from carbon dioxide is catalyzed by a diversity of acetogenic microorganisms. Applied and environmental microbiology. 77(9):2882-2886.

12.     Nevin, K. P., P. Zhang, A. E. Franks, T. L. Woodard, and D. R. Lovley (2011) Anaerobes unleashed: Aerobic fuel cells of Geobacter sulfurreducens. Journal of Power Sources. 196(18):7514-7518.

13.     Franks, A .E. , and K.P. Nevin (2010) Microbial fuel cells, a current review. Energies. 3(5):899-919.

14.    Franks, A. E. (2010) Transcriptional analysis in microbial fuel cells: Common pitfalls in global gene expression studies of microbial biofilms. FEMS microbiology letters. 307(2):111-112.

15.     Franks, A. E., K. P. Nevin, R. H. Glaven, and D. R. Lovley (2010) Microtoming coupled to microarray analysis to evaluate the spatial metabolic status of Geobacter sulfurreducens biofilms. The ISME journal. 4(4):509-519.

16.     Franks, A. E., N. Malvankar, and K. P. Nevin (2010) Bacterial biofilms: The powerhouse of a microbial fuel cell. Biofuels. 1(4):589-604.

17.     Klimes, A., A. E. Franks, R. H. Glaven, H. Tran, C. L. Barrett, Y. Qiu, K. Zengler, and D. R. Lovley (2010) Production of pilus-like filaments in Geobacter sulfurreducens in the absence of the type iv pilin protein pila. FEMS microbiology letters. 310(1):62-68.

18.     Nevin, K. P., T. L. Woodard, A. E. Franks, Z. M. Summers, and D. R. Lovley (2010) Microbial electrosynthesis: Feeding microbes electricity to convert carbon dioxide and water to multicarbon extracellular organic compounds. mBio. 1(2).

19.     Strycharz, S. M., S. M. Gannon, A. R. Boles, A. E. Franks, K. P. Nevin, and D. R. Lovley (2010) Reductive dechlorination of 2-chlorophenol by anaeromyxobacter dehalogenans with an electrode serving as the electron donor. Environmental Microbiology Reports. 2(2):289-294.

20.     Summers, Z. M., H. E. Fogarty, C. Leang, A. E. Franks, N. S. Malvankar, and D. R. Lovley (2010) Direct exchange of electrons within aggregates of an evolved syntrophic coculture of anaerobic bacteria. Science. 330(6009):1413-1415.

21.     Williams, K. H., K. P. Nevin, A. Franks, A. Englert, P. E. Long, and D. R. Lovley (2010) Electrode-based approach for monitoring in situ microbial activity during subsurface bioremediation. Environmental Science & Technology. 44(1):47-54.

22.     Zhang, T., S. M. Gannon, K. P. Nevin, A. E. Franks, and D. R. Lovley (2010) Stimulating the anaerobic degradation of aromatic hydrocarbons in contaminated sediments by providing an electrode as the electron acceptor. Environmental microbiology. 12(4):1011-1020.

23.      Franks, A. E., K. P. Nevin, H. F. Jia, M. Izallalen, T. L. Woodard, and D. R. Lovley (2009) Novel strategy for three-dimensional real-time imaging of microbial fuel cell communities: Monitoring the inhibitory effects of proton accumulation within the anode biofilm. Energy & Environmental Science. 2(1):113-119.

24.     Nevin, K. P., B. C. Kim, R. H. Glaven, J. P. Johnson, T. L. Woodard, B. A. Methe, R. J. Didonato, S. F. Covalla, A. E. Franks, A. Liu, and D. R. Lovley (2009) Anode biofilm transcriptomics reveals outer surface components essential for high density current production in Geobacter sulfurreducens fuel cells. PloS one. 4(5):e5628.

25.     Yi, H., K. P. Nevin, B. C. Kim, A. E. Franks, A. Klimes, L. M. Tender, and D. R. Lovley (2009) Selection of a variant of Geobacter sulfurreducens with enhanced capacity for current production in microbial fuel cells. Biosensors & bioelectronics. 24(12):3498-3503.

26.    Franks, A., G. L. Mark-Byrne, J. M. Dow, and F. O'Gara (2008) A putative rna-binding protein has a role in virulence in Ralstonia solanacearum GMI1000. Molecular Plant Pathology. 9(1):67-72.

27.    Ryan, R. P., K. Germaine, A. Franks, D. J. Ryan, and D. N. Dowling (2008) Bacterial endophytes: Recent developments and applications. FEMS microbiology letters. 278(1):1-9.

28.    Franks, A., Egan, S., Holmström, C., James, S., Lappin-Scott, H. and S. Kjelleberg. (2006) Inhibition of fungal colonisation by Pseudoalteromonas tunicata provides a competitive advantage during surface colonisation. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 72: 6079-6087.

29.    Kiely, D.P., Haynes, J.M., Higgins, C.H., Franks, A., Mark, G.L., Morrissey J.P. and F. O’Gara. (2006) Exploiting New Systems-Based Strategies to Elucidate Plant-Bacterial Interactions in the Rhizosphere. Microbial Ecology. Apr;51(3):257-66.

30.    Mark, G.L., Dow, M.J., Kiely, P., Higgins, H., Haynes, J., Baysse, C., Abbas, A., Foley, T., Franks, A., Morrissey, J., and F.  O’Gara. (2005) Transcriptome profiling of bacterial responses to root exudates identifies novel genes involved in microbe-plant interactions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America. 102 (48):17454-17459.

31.    Franks, A., Haywood, P., Holmström, C., Egan, S., Kjelleberg, S. and N. Kumar (2005) Isolation and structural elucidation of a novel yellow pigment from the marine bacterium Pseudoalteromonas tunicata. Molecules 10: 1286-1291


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Research projects

  • Electric Bacteria
  • Synthetic Biology
  • Microbe-Plant Interatactions