Photo by Pavel Bendov

SMALP Conferences

The next SMALP Conference is being held by Zoom on Friday February 26, 2021 from 11am-3pm EST.

Register below to find out about the latest developments in the field of native nanodiscs, including polymer design, immobilization strategies for screening membrane targets, and analysis of protein folding, structure and assembly using fluorescence imaging, cryoEM and NMR.

Schedule on February 26, 2021 (times are EST)

Session 1 Chair: Sandro Keller, University of Graz

11:00 Dr. Jan Kubicek, Business Development, Laboratory Management, Quality Control at Cube Biotech.

11:20 Adrian Kopf, Utrecht University, who is analyzing a variety of different polymers that form nanodiscs as part of his PhD thesis.

11:40 Vanessa Flegler, Universität Würzburg: "The mechanosensitive channel YnaI has a gating mechanism based on flexible pore helices"  

Session 2 Chair: Youzhong Guo, Virginia Commonwealth University

12:00 Dr. Patrick A. de Jonge, Amsterdam UMC, whose studies include "Development of SMALPs as a tool for studies of phage-host interaction"

12:20 Professor Bernadette Byrne, Imperial College London; her  studies include "Modulation of PTH1R signaling by an ECD binding antibody results in inhibition of β-arrestin 2 coupling" 

12:40 Professor Paula Booth, King's College London will speak on "Co-translational folding of membrane proteins"; her lab focusses on nanodiscs and folding of membrane proteins including GPCRs, transporters and ribosome nascent chains complexes

Session 3 Chair: Sundaresan Rajesh, GSK

13:00 Dr.  Tim Dafforn, University of Birmingham, on SMALPs, recent papers include "Nano-encapsulated Escherichia coli Divisome Anchor ZipA, and in Complex with FtsZ"

13:20 Dr. James Mitchell-White who works with Ian D. Kerr at the University of Nottingham, who recently published "Application of fluorescence correlation spectroscopy to study substrate binding in styrene maleic acid lipid copolymer encapsulated ABCG2"

13:40 Dr. Jose Ortega Roldan, University of Kent on "Elucidating membrane interactions of proteins and small molecules combining solution NMR and SMALPs"

Session 4 Chair: Chanelle Brown, Virginia Tech

14:00 Dr. Greg Dodge, a postdoc with Barbara Imperiali, MIT, on "Utilizing SMALPs for biochemical and structural studies of glycoconjugate biosynthesis in human pathogens"

14:20 Dr. Sukriti Gakhar, Associate Scientist at Ascendis Pharma, previously at UC Davis and Genentech, on "Immobilization of membrane proteins using SMALPs in sol-gel based silica gel monoliths".

14:40 Discussion and Close

The Zoom conference is preceded by a SMALP Industry Club meeting from 9:00-10:50 am EST to progress the development of novel polymer-based products, technologies, standards, assays and services for membrane proteins.

Agenda of the SMALP Industry Club:

1. Introductions and Membership
2. Review of Aims of the SMALP Industry Club
3. Market Update
4. Emerging challenges and needs in academia and industry
5. New opportunities and business pitches
6. Beta test sites for new polymers, standards and assays
7. Grants and funding initiatives
8. Any other business

Members include Anatrace, Avanti Lipids, Bruker, Cube Biotech, Cytiva, Echelon, Fluidic Analytics, Malvern Panalytical, Millipore Sigma, Molecular Devices, Orbiscope, Polyscope and academic groups commercializing and testing new tools for the community.

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.

Conference Speakers on Sept 18, 2020:

Session 1: Solubilizing novel targets, Chair: Tim Dafforn

Alexandra Desrames, Research Engineer in the Department of Integrated Red Cell Biology, Institut National de la Transfusion Sanguine, Paris recently published Detergent-free isolation of native red blood cell membrane complexes. SLIDES

Alice Rothnie, Aston University focuses on ABC proteins, secondary active transporters, ion channels and GPCRs and recently published CD81 extracted in SMALP nanodiscs comprises two distinct protein populations within a lipid environment enriched with negatively charged headgroups. SLIDES

Session 2: Nanodisc tools, Chair: Alice Rothnie

Manuela Zoonens, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris develops tools for membrane protein studies and recently published Solubilization and stabilization of membrane proteins by cycloalkane-modified amphiphilic polymers. SLIDES

Stephen Muench, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Leeds, Styrene maleic-acid lipid particles (SMALPs) into detergent or amphipols: An exchange protocol for membrane protein characterisation.

Session 3: Polymer design, Chair: Bert Klumperman

Hongjun Liang, Cell Physiology and Molecular Biophysics at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, focuses on membrane protein functions in synthetic proteomembranes and recently published Extraction and reconstitution of membrane proteins into lipid nanodiscs encased by zwitterionic styrene-maleic amide copolymers. SLIDES

Chanelle Brown, Doctoral Candidate with Richard Turner and Rich Gandour, Department of Chemistry, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University: Homogeneous nanodiscs of native membranes formed by stilbene–maleic-acid copolymers. SLIDES

Session 4: Biophysical methods, Chair: Michael Overduin

Francisco Barrera, Associate Professor University of Tennessee, investigates the interplay between proteins and lipids using biophysical methods and will present SMALPs allow single molecule fluorescence determination of lipid-promoted activation of the EphA2 receptor.

Conference Speakers on June 19, 2020

Tim Dafforn, University of Birmingham:Insights into DIBMA based disc formation
Stefan Scheidelaar, Polyscience:Taking SMA one step further
Bert Klumperman, University of Stellenbosch: Iterative RAFT-mediated copolymerization of styrene and maleic anhydride: towards sequence- and length-controlled copolymers and their applications for solubilizing lipid membranes
Sandro Keller and Anne Grethen, Technische Universität Kaiserslautern: New Electroneutral Polymers for Membrane Proteins
Igor Tascon, BIOFISIKA Institute: Structural basis of proton-coupled potassium transport in the KUP family
Mark Wheatley, Coventry University: Fluorescent approaches to studying GPCR function in SMALPs
Adrian Kopf, Utrecht University: Sizing up amphipathic copolymers for membrane solubilization
Gary Lorigan, Miami University on analysis of membrane proteins by RAFT synthesized SMA
Youzhong Guo,Virginia Commonwealth University: cryo-EM structure of a human connexin channel bound to lipids at 3.0 Angstrom

The European SMALP 2021 Conference is being held in Birmingham, UK from 7-9 July 2021.

The International SMALP 2020 Conference was held on March 20 from 9am-5:30pm EST. Download the PDF Program. Speakers included:

Wayne Hendrickson, Professor, Columbia University, developed multi-wavelength anomalous dispersion as a tool for solving the ‘phase problem’, which revolutionized protein X-ray crystallography, and uses cryo-electron microscopy to elucidate the structural basis of membrane proteins including the ryanodine receptor.

Thomas Walz, Rockefeller University, applies cryo-electron microscopy to resolve macromolecular complexes and membrane proteins involved in vesicular transport, cell adhesion, olfaction and insulin signaling, and will present Cryo-EM studies of Membrane Proteins in Peptidiscs & Nanodiscs. (Cancelled on March 19 due to pressing COVID-19 related duties). PDF slides.

Youzhong Guo, Professor, Department of Medicinal Chemistry, Virginia Commonwealth University, is focussed on the structural biology will give a talk on SMA-based Membrane Active Polymers for Membrane Protein Structural Biology. PDF slides.

Jie Yu will speak on the Mechanism of gating and partial agonist action in the glycine receptor. As a postdoc with Eric Gouaux at Oregon Health & Science University, she is elucidating structures of neurotransmitter receptors and the molecular basis for signal transduction at synapses in the central nervous system. PDF slides.

Giulia Weissenberger
Applications Engineer
VitroJet: Bridging the Gap in Sample Prep
PDF Slides

Jan Kubicek
Managing Director
Cube Biotech GmbH
Recent DIBMA developments and applications
PDF Slides

Sebastian Fiedler, Application Scientist at Fluidic Analytics, will speak on Monitoring of SMALP-nanodisc formation by microfluidic diffusional sizing. He was previously Senior Scientist, Cancer Research UK-MedImmune Alliance Laboratory, Postdoc, University of Toronto and was awarded his PhD from Technische Universität Kaiserslautern. PDF slides.

Tim Dafforn, Professor of Biotechnology, Founder of Linear Diagnostics and Dioptica Scientific, director of knowledge transfer for the college of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Birmingham, will present SMALPs: past glorys and future opportunities. Talk was given by Naomi Pollock. PDF slides.

Steven Harborne, Membrane protein specialist at Peak Protein, which aims to supply high-quality protein reagents for many purposes, often to be used in biophysical assays to assist drug-discovery. Title: Comparisons between SMALP’ed and detergent solubilised GPCRs. PDF slides.

Marta Barniol-Xicota, Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow, Cellular and Molecular Medicine, KU Leuven has been invited to present on Comparative study of xMALP composition in eukaryotic and prokaryotic systems. Do xMALPs resemble the native membrane? PDF slides. Preprint.

Vlado Gelev holds a PhD in Chemistry from UT Austin, postdoc'd with Gerhard Wagner at Harvard Medical School and founder of FB Reagents, which provides isotope labeled probes and deuterated phospholipids and detergents for membrane protein studies.

Kacee H. Sims, Ph.D.
Marketing Technical Specialist
Avanti Polar Lipids, Inc.

PDF Slides.


Verna Frasca
Field Applications Manager
Malvern Panalytical
Biophysical Characterization of SMALPS
PDF Slides

Edward E. Pryor, Ph.D.
Director of Business Development – Proteomics
Senior Applications and Product Specialist
Anatrace / Molecular Dimensions

Ann McDermott, Professor, Columbia University, studies the structure, function, and conformational dynamics of membrane proteins in native-like environments by methods including NMR.

Paul Blount, Professor, UT Southwestern Medical Center, investigates the use of mechanosensors as potential drug targets, as well as developing them into “triggered nanovalves” that could be used in drug-release devices. He will present Advantages of SMALPs for reconstituting channels for patch-clamp analysis and nanodevices

Nathan Brady,Department of Biochemistry & Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, will present Insights into the formation and future applications of PSI-SMALP. PDF slides.

Michael Overduin, Professor, Department of Biochemistry at the University of Alberta will present Novel polymers for memtein solubilization and analysis , and has been developing a set of SMA derivatives and related polymers developed for native membrane protein oligomers and lipid complexes. PDF slides.

SMALP Conference in Utrecht

A SMALP meeting held on Friday April 26, 2019 gathered 125 participants to form the world's largest native nanodisc. With a diameter of over 7 meters, the big SMALP included people dressed in red-orange, blue-green and grey-black to represent protein, lipid and polymer components, respectively.