SMALP-23 is the inaugural International Conference that will bring together the leading international scientists investigating this new concept using biochemistry., biophysics, spectroscopy, chemical biology, polymer chemistry, advanced imaging, and cell biology. Examining the composition, assembly, dynamics, and atomic structures of native membrane particles remains technically challenging. This convergence of approaches will move biology from a postgenomic era to a more integrated understanding of how this fundamental unit of membrane function can mediate signal transduction, molecular transport, energy transduction, and protein/lipid trafficking. This young field has been catapulted forward by the ability to isolate these particles using non-detergent extraction methods. Their biological mechanisms and molecular compositions can be resolved using native nanodiscs formed by poly(styrene-co-maleic acid) (SMA) and other related copolymers. These amphipathic polymers rapidly and spontaneously fragment membranes into water-soluble discs holding a bilayer section. This allows structures of complexes found in vivo to be prepared without resorting to synthetic detergents or artificial lipids. Progress in the field demonstrates that polymer-derived particles better represent how biology works in membranes than naked proteins devoid of lipids. SMALP-23 will be a highly interdisciplinary conference that will allow the interaction of disparate disciplines and combine established investigators and young scientists in a stimulating yet informal setting.