Rohanah Hussain


Rohanah Hussain is a Senior Beamline Scientist working across the Soft Condensed Matter Village.  Rohanah joined Diamond in 2005 after working at King's College London. 

Tel: +44 (0) 1235 778524

Current Research Interests

Pharmaceutical chemistry, drug formulation, drug design, chiroptical spectroscopy applications. 

One of the benefits of understanding molecular recognition is the ability to use structural information to determine affinities of binding interactions. In drug design, formulation or delivery, structural information of potential drug targets and biological environments such as solvents, receptors and membranes are of paramount importance. Delivery of a drug to the target site to initiate therapeutic effect poses a major challenge. Our research focuses on an albumin based delivery system that aims to address this need. 

We have developed an albumin-based delivery system that exploits these binding characteristics to control the serum stability and drug solubility of a broad range of compounds. These drugs have presented formulation challenges, as their lipid characteristics give rise to solubility problems. In addition, the formulation system also confers additional stability on peptide, lipo-peptide and peptide-derived drugs. Consequently, the technology offers a potential mechanism of capitalising on the promise of peptide based therapeutics and provides a formulation solution to the stability problems that have limited their clinical development. The approach is suitable for parenteral administration, and may be extended to address the need for inhalation formulation solutions. The albumin formulation system does not add significant risk to the therapeutic development cycle and exploits material that is well established in the clinical setting.

Arising from work on peptide antimicrobial interactions with bacterial membranes, we initiated an antimicrobial peptide design programme to tackle the MRSA problem. The drug design aims to circumvent the potential bacterial resistance problem that will arise with antibiotics via interaction on the bacterial membrane. This antimicrobial drug design exploits the existing in-house formulation system for better drug delivery with increased efficacy.



Collaborations in which I am involved include:

University of Central Lancashire on "Identification and characterisation of activating and inhibiting ligands that modulate the activities of membrane sensor kinases in Gram-positive pathogens." with Dr Mary Phillips-Jones, Senior Lecturer. This is Ph D studentship programme funded by Diamond and Reading University, started Oct 2013. Rohanah is Diamond main supervisor.

University of Reading and MRC Harwell on "Predictive and structural approaches for the identification of novel mouse models of human disease generated by ENU mutagenesis." with Drs Liam McGuffin and David Nutt, Reading University and Anne-Marie Mallon and Dominic Norris, MRC Harwell. This is a PHD studentship programme funded by Diamond-MRC Harwell and Reading University, started Oct 2010. Rohanah is Diamond main supervisor.


University of Southampton on "Analysis of membrane protein structure and their interactions by synchrotron circular dichroism spectroscopy." with Dr Phil.T Williamson, Lecturer, Southampton University. This is a PhD studentship programme funded by Diamond-Southampton, started Oct 2013. Rohanah is Diamond co-supervisor.



  • G. Siligardi, R. Hussain, S. G. Patching & M. K. Phillips-Jones. Ligand- and drug-binding studies of membrane proteins revealed through circular dichroism spectroscopy.. Biochim. Biophys. Acta Biomembr. (2014) 1838 (1), 34-42 
  • G Runti, M del Carmen Lopez Ruiz, T Stoilova, R Hussain, M Jennions, H G. Choudhury, M Benincasa, R Gennaro, K Beis, and M Scocchi. Functional Characterization of SbmA, a Bacterial Inner Membrane Transporter Required for Importing the Antimicrobial Peptide Bac7(1-35), J. Bacteriol. (2013) Dec;195(23):5343-51
  • Marchiani A., Mammi S., Siligardi, G., Hussain R., Tessari T., Bubacco, L., Delogu G., Fabbri D., Dettori MA., Sanna, D., Dedola S., Serra PA., Ruzza P. Small molecules interacting with a-synuclein: antiaggregating and cytoprotective properties. Amino acids (2013) 45 (2), 327-338
  • Lima M., Hughes AJ., Veraldi N., Rudd TR., Hussain R., Brito AS., Chavante SF., Tersariol II., Siligardi G., Nader HB., Yates EA,Antithrombin stabilisation by sulphated carbohydrates correlates with anti-coagulant activity, MedChemComm (2013), 4, 870-873


  • Phillips-Jones, M.K., Patching, S.G., Edara, S., Nakayama, J., Hussain, R., & Siligardi, G. Interactions of the intact FsrC membrane histidine kinase with the tricyclic peptide siamycin I revealed through synchrotron radiation circular dichroism. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. (2013) 15, 444-447.
  • Bettaney K., Sukumar P., Hussain R., Siligardi G., Henderson P., Patching S. A systematic approach to the amplified expression, functional characterisation and purification of inositol transporters from Bacillus subtilis. Molecular Membrane Biology (2013), 30(1), 3-14 
  • Calzolai, L., Laera S., Ceccone G., Gilliland D., Hussain R., Siligardi G., Rossi F. Gold nanoparticles’ blocking effect on UV-induced damage to human serum albumin. J Nanoparticle Resaerch (2013) 15, 11412
  • Patching, S.G., Edara, S., Ma, P. Nakayama, J., Hussain, R., Siligardi, G. & Phillips-Jones, M.K. Interactions of the intact FsrC membrane histidine kinase with its pheromone ligand GBAP revealed through synchrotron radiation circular dichroism. Biochim. Biophys. Acta Biomembr. (2012) 1818, 1595-1602
  •  Hussain,R Jávorfi T and Siligardi G. 8.23 Spectroscopic Analysis: Synchrotron Radiation Circular Dichroism, Comprehensive Chirality (Ed G. Tranter, Elsevier) (2012), vol 8, 438-448 
  • Hussain, R and Siligardi G., Albumin in Drug Delivery; Serum Albumin – Structure function and Health impact (Ed R J. Alekseev and A L. Rebane, Nova) (2012) pp. 133-143


Dr Rohanah Hussain is a senior beamline scientist on Circular Dichroism Beamline B23.
Rohanah’s main interest resides in the field of biopharmaceuticals in drug design and delivery and in novel applications of analytical techniques in the field of life sciences. Her work has covered drug interaction, macromolecular interaction, structural-activity, quality control, protein folding, secondary structure, conformational changes and enzyme mechanisms. She is actively engaged in studies of biomolecular interactions in which the scientific applications of beamline B23 contribute an important role. 

Previously Rohanah was a senior research fellow at department of
Pharmacy, Kings College London running the University London ntercollegiate Research Services (ULIRS) Optical Spectroscopy. In 2000, she was awarded a Kinetique Biomedical Seed Fund, KCL investigating a proprietary drug delivery system. Her interest have always reside in drug delivery and formulation and had been collaborating with MedImmune Ltd on formulation of biopharmaceuticals.

Since May 2005, she joined Diamond Light Source Ltd, as a senior
beamline scientist for B23 beamline.


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