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Howe Lab




  • PhD, University of Cambridge, Department of Chemical Engineering (2008-2011)
  • BA, Natural Science – Plant Biology , First Class (106/110) University of Milan (1998-2003)



My interest in photobiology and electrochemistry began during my undergraduate studies at the University of Milan. My long term goals concentrate on exploring the potential of these hybrid systems in which photobiological elements (e.g. cyanobacteria and microalgae) are used in electrochemical set-ups (e.g. microbial fuel cells) for the direct generation of electrical current, driving electro-synthesis and as bio-environmental sensors.

These concepts are developed under the name of PBES (photo-bio-electrochemical-system) or BPV (bio-photovoltaic – when only oxygenic photosynthetic organisms are used).



  • PDF at the Department of Agricultural study University of Milano (Italy) 
  • Visiting scientist at the Department of Biochemistry University of Cambridge (UK)



MIUR: Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (Ministero dell'università e della ricerca).


Contact details


lab phone: +44 (0)1223 333 684



Google scholar:

  • “Electricity production by photosynthetic microorganisms” Howe CJ, Bombelli P (2020) Joule 4:2065-2069,
  • “Tinted semi-transparent solar panels allow concurrent production of crops and electricity on the same cropland” Thompson EP, Bombelli EL, Shubham S, Watson H, Everard A, D’Ardes V, Schievano A, Bocchi S, Zand N, Howe CJ, Bombelli P (2020) Advanced Energy Materials, 2020:2001189, doi. 10.1002/aenm.202001189 
  • “A storable mediatorless electrochemical biosensor for herbicide detection” Tucci M, Bombelli P, Howe CJ, Vignolini S, Bocchi S, Schievano A (2019) Microorganisms 7:630, 10.3390/microorganisms7120630
  • “The development of biophotovoltaic systems for power generation and biological analysis” Wey LT, Bombelli P, Chen X, Lawrence JM, Rabideau CM, Rowden SJL, Zhang JZ, Howe CJ. (2019) ChemElectroChem. 6:5375-5386, DOI: 10.1002/celc.201900997 
  • “Electrochemical characterisation of Bio-Bottle-Voltaic (BBV) systems operated with algae and built with recycled materials” Bateson P, Fleet JEH, Riseley AS, Janeva E, Marcella AS, Farinea C, Kuptsova M, Conde N, Howe CJ, Bombelli P, Parker BM. (2018) Biology 7:26 
  • “Porous translucent electrodes enhance current generation from photosynthetic biofilms” Wenzel T, Härtter D, Bombelli P, *Howe CJ, *Steiner U (2018) Nature Communications 9:1299 
  • “Enhancing power density of biophotovoltaics by decoupling storage and delivery” Saar KL, Bombelli P, Lea-Smith DJ, Call T, Aro E-M, Mueller T, *Howe CJ, *Knowles TPJ (2018) Nature Energy 3:75-81 
  • “Photoelectrochemistry of Photosystem II in vitro vs. in vivo” Zhang JZ, Bombelli P, Sokol KP, Fantuzzi A, Rutherford AW, Howe CJ, Reisner E. (2017) J Am. Chem. Soc. 140:6-9
  • “Electricity generation from digitally printed cyanobacteria” *Sawa M, *Fantuzzi A, *Bombelli P, Howe CJ, Hellgardt K, Nixon PJ (2017) Nature Comms. 8:1327
  • “Electrical output of bryophyte microbial fuel cell (bryoMFC) systems is sufficient to power a radio or an environmental sensor” Bombelli P, Dennis RJ, Felder F, Cooper MB, Iyer DMR, Royles J, Harrison STL, Smith AG, Harrison CJ, Howe CJ (2016) Royal Society Open Science 3:160249.
  • “Exploiting algal NADPH oxidase for biophotovoltaic energy” Anderson A, Laohavisit A, Blaby IK, Bombelli P, Howe CJ, Merchant SS, Davies JM, Smith AG (2016) Plant Biotechnology Journal, 14:22-28
  • “Photosynthetic, respiratory and extracellular electron transport pathways in cyanobacteria” Lea-Smith DJ, Bombelli P, Vasudevan R, Howe CJ. (2016) Biochim Biophys Acta 1857:247-255.