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Register for the SMALP Conference on January 28:

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.

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.

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.

The agenda will be similar to our SMALP conference on October 1, 2021:

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 membrane prendosomal 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.

12:10 pm Discussion, Vote for next meeting date (January 14, 21 or 28) and Close

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. 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.


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.

SMA polymer

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.