Photo by Pavel Bendov

International SMALP Conferences

The next SMALP Conference is being held by zoom on Friday Jan 28, 2022 from 8 am UTC, 9 am MDT, 11 am EDT, 4 pm BST, 5 pm CEST, 11 pm CST.

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 on January 28, 2022:

annette-meisterAnnette Meister, Institute for Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg studies membrane protein interactions and nanodiscs and has recently published Solubilization of artificial mitochondrial membranes by amphiphilic copolymers of different charge and Nanoscale Model System for the Human Myelin Sheath .

Peter-TielemanPeter Tieleman, University of Calgary focuses on biological membranes and molecular dynamics simulation methods for nanodiscs and membrane systems including GPCRs and ABC transporters, analysis of interactions within proteins and lipids, and the development of improved lipid models.

Shijia-ZhangShijian Zhang, Instructor, Harvard Medical School and Department of Microbiology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute will present HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins in SMALP are stable and preserve native conformations, and submitted Analysis of glycosylation and disulfide bonding of wild-type SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein.

Pramod-KumarPramod Kumar, Research Investigator at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Post Doc Research Associate, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, using cryo-EM and SMALPs to better understand ion channel structure & dynamics;  recently published Structure and function at the lipid-protein interface of a pentameric ligand-gated ion channel, PNAS USA.

bernadette-byrneBernadette Byrne, Professor of Molecular Membrane Biology, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London studies the structures, lipid interactions and aggregation properties of membrane proteins, and develops tools and amphilies for large- scale production of stable, functional membrane proteins for structural biological characterization.

Thorsten-SchmidtThorsten Schmidt, Assistant Professor for Experimental Biophysics Kent State University, is developing DNA-based tools and devices for single-molecule cryo-EM of membrane proteins as well as other applications in biophysics, molecular biology, nano photonics he will speak on DNA-encircled lipid nanodiscs.

Register now (tickets are refundable)

The format will be similar to our SMALP conference on Oct 1, 2021, which included:

8:45am MDT Tips & Tricks session to ask the experts and share practical know-how

Session 1 Chair: Bert Klumperman, Department of Chemistry and Polymer Science, Stellenbosch University

Paul Whitley 9:00 am Paul Whitley, Senior Lecturer, Department of Biology & Biochemistry, University of Bath studies endosomal sorting machineries including the ESCRT complex with phosphoinositides, collaborates with Karen Edler on SMALP structures, and will present: Sharing some of our ‘interesting’ experiences so far in 2 short stories. SLIDES

Reidar Lund9:20 am Reidar 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. SLIDES

Alice_Rothnie9:40 am 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.

10:00 - 10:05 Break + Open Discussion

Session 2 Chair: Antoinette Killian, Membrane Biochemistry & Biophysics, Utrecht University

joshua-verstappen10:05 am Joshua Verstappen, Product & Application Engineer, Orbiscope together with Jan Kubicek, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Cube Biotech GmBH on new SMALP names and announcement of the winner of the SMALPetition.

mark-sansom10:15 am Mark S.P. Sansom, David Phillips Professor of Molecular Biophysics, Dept. of Biochemistry, University of Oxford, studies the relationship between structure and function in membrane proteins using structural bioinformatics, molecular modelling, molecular dynamics simulations, and will present: MD Simulations to Aid Analysis of Protein/Lipid Interactions.

bob-gennis10:35 am Bob Gennis, Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry at the University of Illinois studies membrane-bound metalloproteins that catalyze electron transfer reactions coupled to the generation of both a voltage and ion gradient across the membrane bilayer. and will present the High resolution CryoEM structures of the E. coli respiratory O2 reductase, cytochrome bo3, in SMALPS and in MSP nanodiscs. SLIDES

Stephen Sligar10:55 am Stephen Sligar, Swanlund Endowed Chair and Director, School of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on Apo-AI based scaffold proteins. He invented Nanodiscs and studies the structure and mechanistic function of membrane proteins, including Ras proteins and metalloenzymes involved in human drug metabolism and steroid hormone biosynthesis.

11:15 - 11:20 Break + Open Discussion

Session 3 Chair: Oliver Ernst, Department of Biochemistry, University of Toronto

Stephanie-Pitch11:20 am Stephanie Pitch, PhD candidate in biophysical chemistry at the University of California, Santa Cruz is under the supervision of David Kliger, and will present on Functional integrity of membrane protein rhodopsin solubilized by amphipathic polymers. SLIDES

youzhong-guo11:40 am Youzhong Guo, Assistant Professor, Institute for Structural Biology, Drug Discovery and Development, School of Pharmacy, Virginia Commonwealth University, focuses on membrane protein structural biolog, drug discovery and the design of novel polymers for production and analysis of native nanodiscs, and will present: Cryo-EM Structure of Mechanosensitive Channel YnaI using SMA2000: Challenges and Opportunities.

Thi-Kim-Hoang-Trinh12:00 am 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, and will present:pH tunable membrane-active polymers, NCMNP2a-x, for membrane protein structural biology.

European SMALP Conference on April 6-8, 2022

The European SMALP 2022 Conference is being held in Birmingham, UK from April 6-8, 2022. Earlybird/abstract submission deadline:is 4 February 2022. This 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.

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.

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.

SMALP Conference on February 26, 2021

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

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.