Utrecht by Ramon Smits

SMALP 2019 Meeting in Utrecht

The next annual SMALP Conference will be held in Utrecht on Friday April 26, 2019 by Antoinette Killian and Tim Dafforn. Workshops will be offered in Antoinette Killian's laboratory on 25th and potentially on 29th. In addition to learn more about SMALPing, you will have the opportunity to celebrate King’s day, which is a very special festival holiday in The Netherlands.

We'll discuss the latest developments in polymer chemistry, methods and applications in membrane biology, biophysics and structural biology and explore new alternatives.

Past SMALP Meetings:

Overcoming Bottlenecks in Membrane Biology

Max Bell Auditorium, Banff Conference Centre on April 11, 2018.

Download the Program (PDF)


Michael Overduin, Professor, Department of Biochemistry at the University of Alberta is developing amphipathic polymers to solubilize and study native membrane protein complexes and will present Progress on SMALPing challenging proteins: the case of infectious prions.


Mansoore Esmaili, Ph.D. student in the Department of Biochemistry, University of Alberta, and obtained M.Sc. and B.Sc. degrees from the University of Tehran, Iran. She is working on beta barrel and prion proteins.


Ayyalusamy (Rams) Ramamoorthy is the Robert W. Parry Collegiate Professor of Chemistry and Biophysics at the University of Michigan. He investigates the ligand interactions, folding, aggregation and dynamic structures of membrane-associated proteins using methods including solid state NMR approaches and novel SMA derivatives, and presented Nanodiscs and Macro-Nanodiscs for Structural Studies by NMR.

Bert Klumperman is holder of the South African Research Chair on Advanced Macromolecular Architectures, which is awarded by the National Research Foundation Department of Science and Technology, at the Department of Chemistry and Polymer Science at Stellenbosch University. He investigates nano-structured materials for biomedical applications, conducts mechanistic and kinetic studies of radical polymerisation processes, and performs exploratory polymer chemistry for advanced applications

Barry Bruce Professor in Biochemistry, Cellular & Molecular Biology & Microbiology Departments University of Tennessee at Knoxville and presented Non-detergent Isolation of a Cyanobacterial Photosystem I using Styrene-Maleic Acid Copolymers


Bob Gennis, University of Illinois, studies the structure and mechanisms of prokaryotic respiratory enzymes that generate a membrane potential, and presented Structure of the alternative complex III (ACIII) from Flavobacterium johnsoniae in SMA copolymer nanodiscs by cryoEM.


Jasmina Radoicic is a Graduate Student in Stan Opella's lab at the University of California, San Diego and will present SMALP Macrodiscs Provide Near-Native Bilayer Environments for Structure Determination of Membrane Proteins by NMR Spectroscopy.


Eamonn Reading BBSRC Future Leader Fellow at King's College London, and presented Structural mass spectrometry of membrane proteins within SMALP (native) nanodiscs

Russell Bishop, McMaster University, focuses on outer membrane proteins from pathogenic Gram-negative bacteria including PagP, which transfers a palmitoyl group from a phospholipid molecule to the lipid A (endotoxin) component of lipopolysaccharide, and presented beta-barrel modulation of bacterial outer membrane lipids.

Sandro Keller, Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Vice Dean, Faculty of Biology, University of Kaiserslautern and Associate Editor, Biophysics Section, Journal of Membrane Biology, presented Exchange Dynamics of SMALPs and DIBMALPs.

Tim Dafforn, Professor of Biotechnology at the University of Birmingham and Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, co-invented the SMALP system for research into membrane proteins by methods including SANS, SAXS and cEM, and presented SMALPs: polymers, lipids and proteins.


Adrian Kopf, PhD student in the group of Membrane Biochemistry and Biophysics, at Utrecht University in the Netherlands is investigating the influence of copolymer composition and length on membrane solubilization to form SMALP (native) nanodiscs and presented Membrane solubilization by styrene–maleic acid copolymers: importance of polymer length and comonomer sequence.

Industry Panel and Speakers

Jana Broecker at Heptares, previously at the University of Kaiserslautern and University of Toronto, where she solved the first crystal structure of a SMA-solubilized membrane protein and developed crystal screening & data collection methods, presented Structure-based Drug Design for GPCRs.

Stefan Scheidelaar is a Styrene Maleic Anhydride (SMA) Chemist at Polyscope Polymers, and was awarded his PhD from Utrecht University's Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter for his research into solubilization of lipids and membrane proteins into nanodiscs and the mode of action and applications of SMA copolymers.


Verna Frasca is the Field Applications Manager for Biosciences with Malvern Panalytical, and supports the use of MicroCal Isothermal Titration Calorimetry and Differential Scanning Calorimetry for life sciences research, and drug discovery and development. She presented Biophysical characterization of SMALPs and nanodiscs.

Brad Cooney specialises in imaging and chromatography at GE Healthcare, and provides training and troubleshooting in new methods. He will discuss approaches including size exclusion chromatography of protein complexes.


Edward Pryor from Anatrace spent his Ph.D. and post-doctoral research examining structure-function relationships of DNA-binding and membrane proteins including the integral membrane CAAX protease, Ste24p, and will discuss the use of detergents to solubilize and study membrane protein complexes.


Kacee Sims from Avanti Polar Lipids presented Avanti: More than Just (Phospho)Lipids.

The SMALP community assembled into native nanodiscs with red, blue, black and white clothed people indicating protein, lipid, styrene and maleic acid components, respectively.

Nanoparticle Technologies for Membrane Protein Research Meeting

Location: Leeds Beckett University, UK

Dates: June 27-28, 2017

Organizers: Tim Dafforn, Sarah Lee, Naomi Pollock, Vincent Postis

Speakers: Steve Sligar, Bonnie Wallace, Tim Dafforn, Sandro Keller, Tony Watts

South African SMALP Meeting 2017

Location: Stellenbosch, South Africa

Dates: April 10-13, 2017

Format: During the UNESCO/IUPAC Conference

Bert-KlupermanOrganized by Bert Klumperman, South African Research Chair in Advanced Macromolecular Architectures at the Department of Chemistry and Polymer Science at Stellenbosch University

Berkeley SMALP Conference 2017

Location: Berkeley, California, USA

Date: March 24, 2017

Organizers: Tomas Laursen, Jana Broecker and Michael Overduin

Program and Flyer


Toronto SMALP Conference 2016

Location: Hart House Music Room, University of Toronto

Date: Friday April 29, 2016

Timetable: SMA training workshop from 8:00am (free activated SMA provided) and a lively, interactive meeting from 9:00am - 5:00pm

See the Event Flyer, Attendee List and Programme

North American SMALP Conference in Toronto attendees. The red sweaters represent protein, others are lipids.
toronto smalp group 2016