Photo of Davinia Salvacuha Rodriguez

Davinia Salvachua Rodriguez

Group Research Manager II-Biological Science

Orcid ID
Google Scholar

Davinia Salvachúa received her Bachelor’s degree in Biology in 2007 at the Alcalá de Henares University and her Ph.D. in Microbiology in 2013 at the Complutense University of Madrid. Salvachúa subsequently worked as postdoctoral fellow at the Biological Research Center (CIB-CSIC) and NREL where she aimed at cloning and producing fungal ligninolytic enzymes in bacteria and yeasts to breakdown the lignin biopolymer. Salvachúa is currently a Research Scientist at NREL's Renewable Resources and Enabling Sciences Center. Her research focuses on developing bioprocess in bioreactors to upgrade lignin and biomass-derived sugars to chemicals, materials, and fuel precursors by aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, and fungi. Since 2019, Salvachúa is also the Principal Investigator of an Early Career Research project awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science (Biological and Environmental Research program), which focuses on elucidating metabolic pathways in white-rot fungi, the most efficient lignin degrading organisms in nature via systems biology and enzymology approaches.

Research Interests

Lignin deconstruction, utilization, and upgrading by fungi and bacteria

Systems biology and bioinformatics for the discovery of aromatic catabolic pathways in white-rot fungi

Biochemistry of lignin- and aromatics-modifying enzymes

Metabolism of aerobic and anaerobic microbes during the conversion of lignocellulosic sugars to value-added compounds (i.e. carboxylic acids)

Bioprocess development in bioreactors at the bench scale and process scale-up to produce chemicals, fuels, and materials precursors


Ph.D., Microbiology (Biology), Complutense University, Madrid, Spain

Ph.D. Courses, Department of Microbiology, Complutense University, Madrid, Spain

Postgraduate Certificate in Education, Institute of Education's Sciences, Complutense University, Madrid, Spain

B.S., Biology, University of Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain

Professional Experience

Researcher IV, NREL (2020–present)

Researcher III, NREL (2014–2020)

Visiting Scientist, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (2018)

Postdoctoral Researcher, NREL (2014)

Postdoctoral Researcher, Biological Research Center, Center for Biological Research-Spanish National Research Council (CIB-CSIC) (2013)

Ph.D. Student, CIB-CSIC (2008–2013)

Visiting Scientist, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland (2011)

Visiting Scientist, Pennsylvania State University, State College (2010)

Intern, Merck Sharp & Dhome (2007–2008)

Intern, Microbiology Module, University of Alcalá de Henares (2006–2007)

Associations and Memberships

Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology

Featured Work

Outer Membrane Vesicles Catabolize Lignin-Derived Aromatic Compounds in Pseudomonas putida KT2440, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2020)

Innovative Chemicals and Materials from Bacterial Aromatic Catabolic Pathways, Joule (2019)

Bioprocess Development for Muconic Acid Production from Aromatic Compounds and Lignin, Green Chemistry (2018)

Mixed Carboxylic Acid Production by Megasphaera elsdenii from Glucose and Lignocellulosic Hydrolysate, Fermentation (2017)

Lignin Depolymerization by Fungal Secretomes and a Microbial Sink, Green Chemistry (2016)

Opportunities and Challenges in Biological Lignin Valorization, Current Opinion in Biotechnology (2016)

Succinic Acid Production on Xylose-Enriched Biorefinery Streams by Actinobacillus succinogenes in Batch Fermentation, Biotechnology for Biofuels (2015)

Towards Lignin Consolidated Bioprocessing: Simultaneous Lignin Depolymerization and Product Generation by Bacteria, Green Chemistry (2015)

Differential Proteomic Analysis of the Secretome of Irpex lacteus and Other White-Rot Fungi During Wheat Straw Pretreatment, Biotechnology for Biofuels (2013) 

Characterization of a Novel Dye-Decolorizing Peroxidase (DyP)-Type Enzyme from Irpex lacteus and its Application in Enzymatic Hydrolysis of Wheat Straw, Applied and Environmental Microbiology (2013)


Production of Itaconic Acid and Related Molecules from Aromatic Compounds, U.S. Patent No. US10738333B2 (2020)

Engineered Microorganisms for Cellulose Incorporation into Intermediates and Final Products, U.S. Patent No. US20190367865A1 (2019)

Metabolic Engineering for Enhanced Succinic Acid Biosynthesis, U.S. Patent No. US20170306363A1 (2017)

Awards and Honors

Outstanding Mentor Award, NREL (2020)

Early Career Research Award, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Biological and Environmental Research (2019)

Outstanding Mentor Award, NREL (2019)

Young Investigator Award, Society of Industrial Microbiology (2019)

Key Contributor Award, NREL, National Bioenergy Center (2019)

Key Contributor Award, NREL, National Bioenergy Center (2018)

President's Award, NREL, National Bioenergy Center (2018)

Outstanding Performance Award, NREL (2017)

Extraordinary Ph.D. Award, Biological Sciences Faculty, Complutense University (2014)