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Personal profile

Research Interests

I lead AMPL, a collaborative, multi-disciplinary team of eight principal investigators, who work on membrane proteins and lipids at Aston. Membrane proteins play pivotal roles in all cellular functions including the transport of nutrients, the export of toxins and cell-cell interactions. They are also ubiquitous: ~30% of all proteins in all cells are membrane proteins. Consequently they are already key drug targets, with the majority of prescription pharmaceuticals on the market being targeted to this class of protein. Unfortunately, however, they are neither naturally abundant nor stable, which means that in the vast majority of cases extracting them from natural sources is not a viable option in order to study their structures, functions and biochemistry.

A main theme of our research activity is developing yeast as a “cell factory” to synthesize recombinant membrane proteins in sufficient quantity and of appropriate quality for further study. Our approach is to move away from “trial and error” and to rationalize recombinant protein production by understanding the host cell response to it.  We aim to increase the volumetric yield, increase the yield “per cell” and understand the molecular mechanisms involved.

We work on a range of membrane proteins. One of our projects examines in detail the regulation of the aquaporin water channel proteins. Aquaporins form one of the protein families we produce in our yeast cell factories and are of interest as novel drug targets. We first showed that AQP1 is regulated by extracellular water availability (Biochemistry. 2010, 49:821-3). This work was featured on the front cover of its issue, and as part of the 50th birthday cover. These early findings culminated in our recent publication in Cell (2020, 181, 784-799) where we show that subcellular localization of AQP4 can be targetted to treat brain and spinal cord swelling. We also work on tetraspanins, especially CD81, as well as a range of GPCRs.

We acknowledge EPSRC, BBSRC, the Technology Strategy Board, AstraZeneca Ltd, Alpha Biologics Ltd, Applikon Biotechnology, Johnson & Johnson, Glycoform Ltd, Polytherics Ltd and the European Commission for their support. We have co-ordinated three Framework Programme 6 projects: European Membrane Protein Consortium (E-MeP), E-MeP-Lab and OptiCryst. We are also a partner of the Framework Programme 7 EDICT project.

See my profile on ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Roslyn_Bill

Follow me on Twitter: @RoslynBill



Administrative Roles

Associate Dean (Research) for the School of Life and Health Sciences
Member of the Biosciences Research Group; Cellular and Molecular Biomedicine
Member - Aston Research Centre for Healthy Ageing and Aston Membrane Proteins and Lipids

Contact Details

email: r.m.bill@aston.ac.uk
telephone:  +44 121 204 4274  
fax: +44 121 204 4175

External positions

Chair, BBSRC Research Committee E

Panel Member, REF2021 Sub-Panel 8, REF2021 sub-panel 8

External Examiner MSc Industrial Biotechnology, University of York


  • QH301 Biology
  • Recombinant proteins
  • Yeast
  • Membrane proteins
  • Aquaporins
  • Tetraspanins
  • G protein-coupled receptors


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