Professor Roslyn Bill

Roslyn Bill
Postal address:
United Kingdom

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Research interests

Membrane proteins play pivotal roles in all cellular functions. These include 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 make 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 Microb Cell Fact. 2010, 9:47;
  • increase the yield “per cell” –  BMC Genomics. 2008, 9:365; Microb Cell Fact. 2009, 8:1; Microb Cell Fact. 2009, 8:35; and
  • understand the molecular mechanisms involved –  Nat Biotechnol. 2011, 29: 335-340.  


Our review in Biochem Soc Trans provides a good overview of our approach – see Biochem Soc Trans. 2011, 39: 719-723.


To listen to an interview on BBC Midlands Today click here. To see a podcast on what we do, click here. Our yeast engineering work is also highlighted in a recent meeting report and in The New Optimists - click here to see the interview


A second theme of our work is examining in detail the regulation of water channel proteins (aquaporins), which is one of the protein families we produce in our yeast cell factories and are of interest as novel drug targets. We recently 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. To listen to a podcast on our work on membrane proteins more generally click here.


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.



Administrative Roles

Research Convenor for the Molecular & Cell Biology Research Group
Member of the Biomedical Sciences Research Area
Member - Aston Research Centre for Healthy Ageing

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Clinical and Systems Neuroscience

Organisational unit: School

  1. Current Opinion in Structural Biology (Journal)

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditorial activity

  2. External Examiner MSc Molecular Biotechnology

    Activity: Examination typesExamination

  3. Microbial Cell Factories (Journal)

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditorial activity

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Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research

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