2018 – JULY: Experimental Techniques for Studying Proteins and Lipids in Biological Membranes



Biochemical Society Training Event | 31 July – 1 August 2018 | Aston University


Many thanks to the Biochemical Society for organising this CBMNet-sponsored meeting (if you are interested in organising your own event in conjunction with the Biochemical Society then you can find out more details here).

Thanks must also go to the programme coordinators Kostas Beis and Alan Goddard who put a lot of work into developing a stimulating agenda of talks and Alice Rothnie who did a great job leading the practical sessions.

The first day kicked off with a really interesting introduction to SMALPs from Alice Rothnie, who introduced us to the benefits and limitations of their use, drawing on her own experience. Next up were two equally fascinating talks from Manuela Mura on modelling insertion of SMA into membranes and Irundika Dias who spoke about using lipidomics to identify and analyse lipids. Following lunch, the introduction to SMALPs came in particularly handy since we got to purify them ourselves, under the expert tutelage of Alice Rothnie, with help from Alan Goddard and his lab. Following all our hard work in the lab, Liz Jenkinson from Green Biologics co-hosted a discussion with Alan Goddard on the challenges and advantages of working in/with industry.

The morning of day two started off with Gavin Thomas, who introduced us to different types of transmembrane proteins found in bacteria, and Kostas Beis, who talked about the methods he uses to purify them. Following coffee, we learnt about methods used to analyse the structure and function of membrane proteins. Kostas Beis talked again about his use of crystallography to study membrane protein structure, followed by Saskia Bakker and Argyris Politis presenting the uses of electron microscopy and mass spectrometry. In the afternoon, it was back to Aston University labs to check on the success of our SMALP purification, which seemed to work pretty well!

“This meeting was a thorough and engaging introduction to a wide variety of techniques. The speakers gave in-depth advice on the use of different techniques. It was also great to get some practical experience mixed in with the lectures!”