SMALP network



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Welcome to the SMALP Network

The next SMALP Conference is being held by zoom on Friday Oct 1, 2021 from 8 am UTC, 9 am MDT, 11 am EDT, 4 pm BST, 5 pm CEST, 11 pm CST. An "ask the experts" session will precede the main conference to share tips and tricks.

Registration is below. The conference will feature sessions with 20 minute talks each about the latest developments in the field of native nanodiscs, including synthetic polymer design, immobilization strategies for screening membrane targets, and analysis of membrane protein folding, interactions, structures and assembly using methods including fluorescence imaging, cryo-EM, NMR, neutron and X-ray scattering, X-ray crystallography, mass spectrometry, mass photometry and more.

We aim to develop and share technologies to allow any researcher to purify, visualize and characterize any biological membrane:protein assembly (memtein), and welcome you to join in to share your insights and questions.

Confirmed speakers: 

keKaren Edler, Professor of Soft Matter, University of Bath, studies why SMA copolymers are capable of stabilising nanodiscs, new controlled structure nanodisc systems, surfactants from natural products, and deep eutectic solvents, and uses methods including neutron and X-ray scattering and reflectivity while developing user friendly software for molecular simulations.

rlReidar Lund, Associate Professor at University of Oslo, focusses on soft matter including polymers by methods such as X-ray and neutron scattering and recently published Understanding the Structural Pathways for Lipid Nanodisc Formation: How Styrene Maleic Acid Copolymers Induce Membrane Fracture and Disc Formation.

Alice Rothnie, Senior Lecturer, Life & Health Sciences, Biosciences, Aston University, focuses on ABC proteins, secondary active transporters, ion channels and GPCRs, and comparison of performance of synthetic copolymers for membrane protein solubilization and native nanodisc behaviour.

Youzhong Guo, Assistant Professor, Institute for Structural Biology, Drug Discovery and Development, School of Pharmacy, Virginia Commonwealth University, focusing on membrane protein structural biolog, drug discovery and the design of novel polymers for production and analysis of native nanodiscs by methods including X-ray crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy.

Thi Kim Hoang Trin, postdoc at Virginia Commonwealth University, previously PhD student at the Institution of Materials Science in Mulhouse and MSc from Pusan National University in Polymer Science and Engineering.

SMALP Conference on May 28, 2021

Session 1 Chair: Marta Barniol-Xicota, KU Leuven.

Timings below are MDT, i.e. in Alberta. The SMALP Industry Club meets beforehand from 7am MDT.

9:00 Yuhang Chen, State Key Laboratory of Molecular Developmental Biology, Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences will present on Structure and activity of SLAC1 channels for stomatal signaling in leaves.

9:20 Sandro Keller, Professor, Institute of Molecular Biosciences, University of Graz, will present A Bioinspired Glycopolymer for Capturing Membrane Proteins in Native-Like Lipid-Bilayer Nanodiscs. SLIDES

9:40 Kin Hoi works with Carol Robinson , University of Oxford, and will present on Detergent-free Lipodisq Nanoparticles Facilitate High-Resolution Mass Spectrometry of Folded Integral Membrane Proteins.

Session 2 Chair: Alice Rothnie, Aston University

10:00 Natalia Voskoboynikova, researcher with Heinz-Jürgen Steinhoff, Department of Physics, University of Osnabrueck on SMA- and DIBMA-encircled lipid nanoparticles of variable size as tools for the structural and functional study of membrane proteins.

10:20 Sophie Harvey is a Senior Research Associate with Vicki Wysocki at Ohio State University and will present on Characterizing lipoprotein nanodiscs using native mass spectrometry and surface-induced dissociation”.

10:40 Cameron Workman, Chemistry Department, U Tennessee Knoxville, works with Barry Bruce and will present Protein Extraction Efficiency and Selectivity of Esterified Styrene-Maleic Acid Copolymers in Thylakoid Membranes.

Session 3 Chair: Brittany Wiseman, MacEwan University and SMALP Network Intern

11:00 Shuo Qian at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory will present on the Structure of Diisobutylene Maleic Acid Copolymer (DIBMA) and Its Lipid Particle as a “Stealth” Membrane-Mimetic for Membrane Protein Research.

11:20 Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy, Professor of Chemistry and Biophysics, University of Michigan on Nanodiscs for structure and dynamics studies on membrane-bound REDOX protein-protein complexes.

11:40 Mahmoud Nasr, Harvard Medical School, who recently published Cryo-EM structure of an activated GPCR-G protein complex in lipid nanodiscs.

European SMALP Conference

The European SMALP 2022 Conference is being held in Birmingham, UK from April 6-8, and is being organized by the Biochemical Society with sponsors including Nanotemper. This will be preceded by UK workshop on membrane proteins at Aston University from April 4-6.

Background on SMALP

The SMALP system is being developed by the international research community as an alternative to conventional detergents, which tend to dissociate, destabilize and deactivate native membrane proteins.


A variety of amphipathic polymers like styrene maleic anhydride have been found to directly and spontaneously solubilize proteins and bound lipids from membranes when activated. This provides opportunities for understanding and exploiting the structure and function of native membrane protein complexes.

As SMALP technology is relatively new, the participation of the wider community and sharing of new ideas and practices amongst researchers is the best way to ensure continued rapid development of the field.

Join our network and come to our meetings to discover how SMALP materials and methods could be used in your research.

Join our community.

The SMALP network offers polymers, methods and meetings to support the growing community of scientists and companies interested in the preparation of membrane nanodiscs formed by polymers including styrene maleic acid for biological research and drug discovery applications.

Register for a day of insightful talks from experts in the structural biology and functions of membrane proteins and nanodisc development, discussions with academic and industry leaders, and enjoy breakfast, lunch and coffee breaks on us.

These events are offered to bring together academic and industry experts, postdocs and students who are interested in membrane protein structural biology, lipidomics, proteomics, target discovery and biophysical analysis of bilayers and amphipathic polymers.

We welcome researchers from across academia and industry to join us in lively discussions and debate about the latest advances in native nanodiscs, membrane proteins, polymer chemistry, lipid biophysics, structural biology, and applications including drug discovery and delivery.