Robin Owen


Robin is the Principal Beamline Scientist of MX beamline I24. Robin joined Diamond in 2009 from the Swiss Light Source.

Tel: +44 (0) 1235 778522

Key Research Areas

  • Beamline Development
  • Complementary methods
  • Radiation damage
  • Time resolved crystallography

Latest Publications

Current Research Interests

It is often difficult to obtain large well diffracting crystals. By developing methods and intrumentation for Microfocus MX we aim to enable structure solution for the most challenging crystals be they small, poorly ordered or invisible when cryo-cooled for data collection. 

Hardware developments resulting in smaller, hotter beams combined with the weakly diffracting nature of macromolecular crystals means that radiation damage is often a limiting factor in macromolecular crystallography. In order to maximise the amount of useful information a crystallographer can extract from a crystal, we aim to userstand the processes of radiation damage in crystals at both 100K and room temperature. Complementary methods can provde a means for this in addition to providing valuable biological information. 

Even if an experiment is carried out optimally, it is often only possible to collect a small amount of data from each crystal. Many 10's, 100's or even 1000's of crystals may be required to obtain a complete dataset. We are developing instrumentation for new modes of sample delivery to make efficient use of crystals at both Diamond and X-ray Free Electron Lasers (XFELs). Despite the obvious differences in synchrotron and XFEL data collection, there are many common areas and our approaches aim to exploit these. 

XFELs provide a means of obtaining high resolution time resolved crystallographic structures: a limitation of conventional MX is that the model obtained provides a static snapshot of the reaction of interest. For a complete understanding of how systems function it is vital to be able to watch and understand chemical reactions and biological processes as they occur. Together with a number of collaborators the methods we are helping to develop will enable high throughput Fixed Target Serial Femtosecond Crystallography (FT-SFX). This is an approach that can be used at both synchrtrons and FELs, opening up the field of SFX for difficult to crystallise targets. 

I work with several groups outside Diamond as part of my research. These include:

Mike Hough (University of Essex). Methods for high throughput serial crystallography.

Arwen Pearson (University of Hamburg). We work together on a number of projects focusing on the use of complementary methods and development of novel approaches for time-resolved crystallography. 

Ray Owens, Jo Nettleship (OPPF-UK); Jim Robinson, Ann Morgan and Darren Tomlinson (University of Leeds). Structural studies of clincally important proteins implicated in rheumatoid arthritis.

Dwayne Miller (University of Toronto & University of Hamburg). Methods for serial femtosecond crystallography.


A list of my publications can be found below. Please contact me if you would like a copy of any of the below

1.     Enzyme Catalysis Captured using Multiple Structures from One Crystal at Varying Temperatures 
Sam  Horrell,  Demet  Kekilli,  Kakali Sen,  Robin L.  Owen,  Florian S. N.  Dworkowski,  Svetlana V.  Antonyuk,  Thomas W.  Keal,  Chin W.  Yong,  Robert R.  Eady,  S. Samar Hasnain,  Richard W.  Strange and  Michael A.  Hough
IUCrJ,  Accepted for publication, in press
  1. Where is crystallography going?
Jonathan M. Grimes, David R. Hall, Alun W. Ashton, Gwyndaf Evans, Robin L. Owen, Armin Wagner, Katherine E. McAuley, Frank von Delft, Allen M. Orville, Thomas Sorensen, Martin A. Walsh, Helen M. Ginn, and David I. Stuart
Acta Cryst D74 (2018), 152-166
  1. Affimer proteins inhibit immune complex binding to FcγRIIIa with high specificity through competitive and allosteric modes of action
James I. Robinson, Euan W. Baxter, Robin L. Owen, Maren Thomsen, Darren C. Tomlinson, Mark P. Waterhouse, Stephanie J. Win, Joanne E. Nettleship Christian Tiede, Richard J. Foster, Raymond J. Owens, Colin W. G. Fishwick, Sarah A. Harris, Adrian Goldman, Michael J. McPherson, and Ann W. Morgan
PNAS (2018) 15, E72-E81
  1. Time zero determination for FEL pump-probe studies based on ultrafast melting of bismuth
S. W. Epp,  M. Hada,  Y. Zhong,  Y. Kumagai,  K. Motomura,  S. Mizote, T. Ono, S. Owada,  D. Axford,  S. Bakhtiarzadeh, H. Fukuzawa, Y. Hayashi,  T. Katayama,  A. Marx,  H. M. Muller-Werkmeister, R. L. Owen,  D. A. Sherrell,  K. Tono,  K. Ueda,  F. Westermeier,  and R. J. D. Miller
Structural Dynamics 4, 054308 (2017)
  1. Low dose fixed target serial synchrotron crystallography
R. L. Owen, D. Axford, D. A. Sherrell, A. Kuo, O. P. Ernst, E. C. Schulze, R. J. D. Miller & H. M Mueller-Werkmeister
Acta Cryst D73 (2017) 373-378
  1. The use of haptic interfaces and web services in crystallography: an application for a `screen to beam' interface
Bruno, A.E., A.S. Soares, R.L. Owen, and E.H. Snell,.
Journal of Applied Crystallography, 2016. 49(6)
  1. Exploiting microbeams for membrane protein structure determination
A. J. Warren, D. A. Axford, N. G. Paterson and R. L. Owen
Chapter in ‘The next generation in membrane protein structure determination’, Springer (2016) 105-118
  1. Solid Target combined with spectral mapping: approaching 100% hit rates for serial crystallography using XFELs and synchrotrons
S. Oghbaey, A. Sarracini, H. M. Ginn, O. Pare-Labrosse, A. Kuo, A. Marx, S. W. Epp, R. L. Owen, D. A. Sherrell, B. T. Eger, V. Mariani, D. I. Stuart, O. P. Ernst, H. M. Werkmeister and R. J. D. Miller
Acta Cryst (2016) D72, 944-955.
  1. Current advances in synchrotron radiation instrumentation for MX experiments
Robin L. Owen, Jordi Juanhuix, Martin Fuchs
Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics (2016) 602, 21-31
  1. Radiation damage and derivatization in macromolecular crystallography: a structure factor's perspective
R. L. Owen and D. A. Sherrell
Acta Cryst. (2016). D72, 388-394
  1. Imperfection and radiation damage in protein crystals studied with coherent radiation
C. Nave, G. Sutton, G. Evans, R. Owen, C. Rau, I. Robinson and D. I. Stuart
J. Synchrotron Rad. (2016). 23, 228-237
  1. A modular and compact portable mini-endstation for high precision, high speed fixed target serial crystallography at FELs and synchrotron sources.
D. A. Sherrell, A.. J. Foster, L. Hudson, B. Nutter, J. O’Hea, S. Nelson, O. Paré-Labrosse, S. Oghbaey, R. J. D. Miller and R. L. Owen.
Journal of Synchrotron Radiation (2015), 22, 1372-1378.
  1. Fixed target matrix for femtosecond and in situ serial micro-crystallography
C. Mueller, A. Marx, S. W. Epp, Y. P. Zhong, R. L. Owen, A. R. Pearson, O. P. Ernst, A. R. Kuo, A. Balo, J. Soman, J. S. Olson, and  R. J. D. Miller
Struct. Dyn. (2015), 2, 054302
  1. Polyhedra structures and the evolution of the insect viruses
Xiaoyun Ji, Danny Axford, Robin Owen, Gwyndaf Evans, Helen M. Ginn, Geoff Sutton and David I. Stuart
Journal of Structural Biology (2015). 192, 88-99
  1. Status of the crystallography beamlines at Diamond Light Source
D. R. Allan, S. P. Collins, G. Evans, D. Hall, K. McAuley, R. L. Owen, T. Sorensen, C. C. Tang, F. von Delft, A. Wagner, H, Wilhelm
European Physical Journal Plus (2015), 130, 3
  1. Time-resolved crystallography using the Hadamard transform.
Yorke B. A., Beddard G. S., Owen R. L., Pearson A. R.
Nature Methods, 2014, 11, 1131-1134
  1. Exploiting fast detectors to enter a new dimension in room temperature crystallography
Robin L. Owen, Neil Paterson, Danny Axford, Jun Aishima, Clemens Schulze-Briese, Jingshan Ren, Elizabeth E. Fry, David I. Stuart and Gwyndaf Evans
Acta Cryst (2014) D70, 1248-1256
  1. Structural and Mechanistic Insights into the PAPS-Independent Sulfotransfer Catalyzed by Bacterial Aryl Sulfotransferase and the Role of the DsbL/DsbI System in its Folding
Goran Malojčić, Robin L. Owen, and Rudi Glockshuber.
Biochemistry (2014) 53 1870-1877
  1. Adhiron: a new and versatile protein scaffold
Christian Tiede, Anna Tang, Sarah Deacon, Upasana Mandal, Joanne E. Nettleship, Robin L. Owen, Ray Owens, Darren Tomlinson, and Michael McPherson
PEDS (2014) 27 145 - 155
  1. Human cellular retinaldehyde-binding protein has secondary thermal 9-cis-retinal isomerase activity
Christin S. Bolze, Rachel E. Helbling, Robin L. Owen, Arwen R. Pearson, Guillaume Pompidor, Florian Dworkowski, Martin R. Fuchs, Julien Furrer,
Marcin Golczak, Krzysztof Palczewski, Michele Cascellaand Achim Stocker
J. Am. Chem. Soc (2014) 136 137-146
  1. Structure and mechanism of N33/Tusc3, a redox-active subunit of the human oligosaccharyl transferase complex
Elisabeth Mohorko, Robin L. Owen, Goran Malojčic, Maurice Brozzo, Markus Aebi & Rudi Glockshuber
Structure (2014) 22 590-601
  1. Insights into the mechanism of X-ray induced disulfide bond cleavage in lysozyme crystals based on EPR, optical absorption, and X-ray diffraction studies
Kristin A. Sutton, Paul Black, Kermit R. Mercer, Elspeth F. Garman, Robin L. Owen, Edward H. Snell and William A. Bernhard
Acta Cryst (2013) D69 2381-2394
  1. Clustering procedures for the optimal slection of data sets from multiple crystals in macromolecular crystallography
James Foadi, Pierre Aller, Yilmaz Alguel, Alex Cameron, Danny Axford, Robin Owen, Wes Armour, David Waterman, So Iwata and Gwyndaf Evans
Acta Cryst. (2013). D69, 1617-1632
  1. Outrunning free radicals in room temperature macromolecular crystallography
Robin L. Owen, Danny Axford, Joanne E. Nettleship, Raymond J. Owens, James I Robinson, Ann W. Morgan, Andrew S. Doré, Guillaume Lebon, Christopher G. Tate, Elizabeth E. Fry, Jingshan Ren, David I. Stuart and Gwyndaf Evans
Acta Cryst (2012) D68 810-818
  1. X-ray excited optical luminescence of protein crystals: a new tool for studying radiation damage during diffraction data collection
Robin L. Owen, Briony A. Yorke and Arwen R. Pearson
Acta Cryst (2012) D68 505-510
  1. In situ macromolecular crystallography using microbeams
D.  Axford, R.  L. Owen, J. Aishima, J. Foadi, A. W. Morgan, J. I. Robinson, J. E. Nettleship, R. J. Owens, I. Moraes,  E. E. Fry, J. M. Grimes, K. Harlos, A. Kotecha, J. Ren, G. Sutton, T. S. Walter, D. I. Stuart and  G. Evans
Acta Cryst (2012) D68 592-600
  1. A sensor/adaptor mechanism for enterovirus uncoating from structures of EV71
X.Wang, W. Peng, J. Ren, Z. Hu, J. Xu, Z. Lou, X. Li, W. Yin, X. Shen, C. Porta, T. S. Walter, G. Evans, D. Axford, R Owen, D. J. Rowlands, J. Wang, D. I. Stuart, E. E. Fry and Z. Rao
Nature Structural & Molecular Biology (2012) 19 424-429
  1. Four complete turns of a curved 3(10)-helix at atomic resolution: The crystal structure of the peptaibol trichovirin I-4A in polar environment suggests a transition to alpha-helix for membrane function
Renate Gessmann, Danny Axford, Robin L. Owen, Hans Brueckner and Kyriacos Petratos
Acta Cryst (2012) D68 109-116
  1. Macromolecular Microcrystallography
Gwyndaf Evans, Danny Axford, David Waterman, Robin L. Owen
Crystallography Reviews (2011) 17 105-142
  1. Revealing low dose radiation damage using single crystal spectroscopy
Robin L Owen, Briony A Yorke, James A Gowdy and Arwen R Pearson
J. Synchrotron Rad. (2011). 18, 367-373 
  1. High-speed crystal detection and characterisation using a fast readout detector.
Jun Aishima, Robin L. Owen, Danny Axford, Emma Shepherd, Graeme Winter, Karl Levik, Paul Gibbons, Alun Ashton and Gwyndaf Evans
Acta Cryst. (2010). D66, 1032–1035
  1. Mammalian cell expression, purification, crystallization and microcrystal data collection of Autotaxin/ENPP2, a secreted mammalian glycoprotein
Jens Hausmann, Evangelos Christodoulou, Mobien Kasiem, Valeria De Marco,
Laurens van Meeteren,Wouter Moolenaar, Danny Axford, Robin L Owen, Gwyndaf Evans and Anastassis Perrakis
Acta Cryst. (2010). F66, 1130–1135
  1. Characterization of a C-C hydrolase from Mycobacterium tuberuclosis involved in cholesterol metabolism
Nathan A. Lack, Katherine C. Yam, Edward D. Lowe, Geoff P. Horsman, Robin L. Owen, Edith Sim and Lindsay D. Eltis
Journal Biological Chemistry (2010), 285, 434-443
  1. How baculovirus polyhedra fit square pegs into round holes to robustly package viruses.
Xiaoyun Ji, Geoff Sutton, Gwyndaf Evans, Danny Axford, Robin Owen and David I Stuart
Embo J (2009), 29, 505-514
  1. Combining X-ray crystallography and single crystal spectroscopy to probe enzyme mechanisms.
A. R. Pearson and R. L. Owen
Biochem Soc Trans. (2009), 37, 378–381.
  1. Absorbed dose calculations for macromolecular crystals: improvements to RADDOSE
K. S. Paithankar, R. L. Owen and E. F. Garman.
J. Synchrotron Rad. (2009), 16, 152–162
  1. Determination of X-ray flux using silicon pin diodes
R. L. Owen,  J. M. Holton, C. Schulze-Briese and E. F. Garman.
J. Synchrotron Rad. (2009), 16, 143–151
  1. Colouring Cryo-Cooled Crystals: on-line microspectrophotometry.
J. McGeehan, R. B.G. Ravelli, J. W. Murray, R. L. Owen, F. Cipriani, S. McSweeney, M. Weik and E. F. Garman.
J. Synchrotron Rad. (2009), 16, 163–172
  1. A novel on-axis multi-mode spectrometer at X10SA of the Swiss Light Source
R. L. Owen, A. R. Pearson, A. Meents, P. Boehler, V. Thominet and C. Schulze-Briese
J. Synchrotron Rad. (2009), 16, 173–182
  1. A structural and biochemical basis for PAPS-independent sulfuryl transfer by aryl sulfotransferase from uropathogenic Escherichia coli.
G. Malojčić, R. L. Owen, J. P. A. Grimshaw, M. S. Brozzo, H. Dreher-Teo, and R. Glockshuber
PNAS (2008), 105, 19217-19222
  1. Preparation and structure of the charge-transfer intermediate of the transmembrane redox catalyst DsbB
G. Malojčić, R. L. Owen, J. P.A. Grimshaw, and R. Glockshuber
FEBS Letters 582 (2008) 3301-3307.
  1. Resonance Raman spectroscopy for In-situ monitoring of radiation damage.
A, Meents, R.L. Owen, D. Murgida, P. Hildebrant, R. Schneider, C. Pradervand, P. Bohler, C. Schulze-Briese
Synchrotron Radiation Instrumentation (2007), 879,1984-1987.
43. Cryocrystallography of macromolecules: practice and optimisation.
Elspeth Garman and Robin L. Owen.
Methods in Molecular Biology, Humana Press Inc, (2007) 1-18.
  1. Experimental determination of the radiation dose limit for cryocooled protein crystals.
Robin L. Owen, Enrique Rudiño-Piñera and Elspeth Garman,
PNAS (2006), 103, 4912-4917
  1. Effect of Irradiation-Induced Disorder on the Conductivity and Critical Temperature of the Organic Superconductor k-BEDT-TTF2CuSCN2.
J. G. Analytis, A. Ardavan,1 S. J. Blundell, R. L. Owen, E. F. Garman, C. Jeynes, and B. J. Powell.
Physical Review Letters (2006), 96, 177002.
  1. Cryocooling and radiation damage in macromolecular crystallography
Elspeth Garman and Robin Leslie Owen.
Acta. Cryst. (2006) D62, 32-47.
  1. Parameters affecting the X-ray dose absorbed by macromolecular crystals.
J. W. Murray, E. Rudiño-Piñera, R. L. Owen, M. Grininger, R. B.G. Ravelli and E. F. Garman.
J. Synchrotron Rad. (2005). 12, 268-275.
  1. A new method for predetermining the diffraction quality of protein crystals: using SOAP as a selection tool.
Robin Leslie Owen and Elspeth Garman.
Acta. Cryst. (2005). D61, 130-140.
  1. Temperature characteristics of crystal storage devices in a CP100 dry shipping Dewar.
Robin Leslie Owen, Mike Pritchard and Elspeth Garman.


J. Appl. Cryst. (2004). 37, 1000-1003.

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