Michael Overduin

Michael Overduin


Ph.D, The Rockefeller University

Office: 780-492-3518
Lab (356 MSB): 780-248-1186
Lab (333 MSB): 780-492-7058
Fax: 780-492-0886


One of the great quandaries of our age is that despite all our scientific progress, our attempts to improve human lives often seems high-risk, time-intensive and expensive. The genetic code has been deciphered, thousands of genomes have been sequenced, and most protein folds are now known. However, our understanding of how dynamic organelles and living cells are formed is at its infancy, and more effective drug molecules for addressing the unmet needs of patients are ever-more costly to design and deliver.

To address the gaps, we focus on three areas:

  1. Extending from the genetic code to a more complete biological code that includes not nucleic acid and protein information but also membrane codes. We have discovered memteins (membrane protein assemblies), regulatory MET-stops and PIP-stops, and the elusive lipidons that dictate membrane reader functions. We are also determining how proteins recognize lipids and reshape membranes. Progress includes the elucidation of how FYVE and PX domains bind the phosphoinositol 3-phosphate lipids found on endosomes, and how PH domains recognize phosphoinositol 4-phosphate on Golgi membranes. Along the way we co-developed predictive "MODA" software for identifying novel membrane binding surfaces on virtually any protein structure and SMALP system for making native nanodiscs. Ultimately we hope to decipher the entirety of the lipid code whereby proteins recognize complex membrane surfaces, shape dynamic organelle structures and initiate localized signaling.

  2. Disease mechanisms of oncogenic proteins, prions, and systems used by viral and bacterial pathogens with an emphasis on those that occur on membranes, as well as effects of critical mutations and modifications. Our targets include the Fgd5 GTPase, CaMK1D kinase, Shp2 phosphatase, tetraspanins including the CD81 receptor for Hepatitis C virus, and desmosomal proteins that mediate cell adhesion and cytoskeletal attachment. We elucidate the structures, dynamics and interactions of these systems, and identify new sites and ligands that can inform the design of novel therapeutic agents.

  3. To reduce the cost of drug discovery and open up entirely new target areas, we are developing tools for the research community. Libraries of molecules including biological signals and drug fragments have been assembled to identify novel pockets and starting points for efficient lead discovery. Biophysical methods including biolayer interferometry, microscale diffusion, isothermal titration calorimetry and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy are being harnessed to identify ligands and binding modes. Polymers are being used to solubilize and study challenging membrane protein targets with styrene maleic acid lipid particles (SMALPs). These tools are shared open access facilities including Molscreen and NANUC, and through consortia including the SMALP Network.

    Our lab's ethos is team-based and collaborative, and involves international teams and funding from across the world. We partner with industry to address global challenges including tackling novel targets and cancers lacking effective cures, we work with startups to develop new products, and engage with leaders to inform policy and spur innovation.

Selected Publications:

Recognition and Remodeling of endosomal zones by sorting nexins
Overduin M, Bhat R.
BBA Biomembranes, in press

Membranes are Functionalized by a Proteolipid Code
Kervin TA, Overduin M.
BMC Biology, in press

Recruitment of Ahsa1 to Hsp90 is regulated by a conserved peptide that inhibits ATPase stimulation
Hussein SK, Bhat R, Overduin M, LaPointe P.
EMBO Reports, resubmitted

Design of Fluorescent Affinity-tagged Native Nanodiscs Based on Styrene Maleamic Acid Copolymers
Trieber C, GC Kuyler, M Esmaili, R Shaykhutdinov, C Acevedo-Morantes, R Bhat, R Mohamad, R Bishop, J Klassen, H Wille, B Klumperman, Overduin M.

A conserved epitope in VAR2CSA is targeted by a cross-reactive antibody originating from Plasmodium vivax Duffy Binding Protein
Iyamu U, Vinals DF, Tornyigah B, Arango E, Bhat R, Adra TR, Grewal S, Martin K, Maestre A, Overduin M, Hazes B, Yanow SK.
Front Cell Infect Microbiol, 13:1202276

Comprehensive classification of proteins based on structures that engage lipids by COMPOSEL
Overduin M, Kervin TA, Klarenbach Z, Adra TC, Bhat RK. 
Biophys Chem, 295, 106971, 2023.

SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Subvariants Balance Host Cell Membrane, Receptor, and Antibody Docking via an Overlapping Target Site
Overduin M, Bhat RK, Kervin TA. 
Viruses, 15(2), 447, 2023.

Discovery of allosteric SHP2 inhibitors through ensemble-based consensus molecular docking, endpoint and absolute binding free energy calculations
Jama M, Ahmed M, Jutla A, Wiethan C, Kumar J, Moon C, West F, Overduin M, Barakat KH. 
Comput Biol Med 152, 106442, 2023.

Transmembrane Membrane Readers form a Novel Class of Proteins That Include Peripheral Phosphoinositide Recognition Domains and Viral Spikes
Overduin M, Tran A, Eekels D, Overduin F, Kervin TA. 
Membranes, 12(11):1161, 2022.

How Choice of Model Membrane Affects Protein-Glycosphingolipid Interactions: Insights from Native Mass Spectrometry
Han L, Nguyen l, Schmidt E, Esmaili M, Kitova EN, Overduin M, Macauley MS, Klassen JS. 
Anal Chem. 2022, 94, 46, 16042–16049.

Progressive membrane-binding mechanism of SARS-CoV-2 variant spike proteins
Overduin M, Kervin TA, Tran A. 
iScience, 25(8)104722, 2022.

Multifaceted membrane binding head of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein
Tran A, Kervin TA, Overduin M
Curr Res Struct Biol 4:146-157, 2022.

Effects of Specific Inhibitors for CaMK1D on a Primary Neuron Model for Alzheimer's Disease
Grant P, Kumar J, Kar S, Overduin M
Molecules, 26(24):7669, 2021.

Tetraspanin 6 is a regulator of carcinogenesis in colorectal cancer
Andrijes R, Hejmadi RK, Pugh M, Rajesh S, Novitskaya V, Ibrahim M, Overduin M, Tselepis C, Middleton G, Győrffy B, Beggs A D, Berditchevski F.
PNAS USA, 118(39): e2011411118, 2021. Reviewed in Science Daily.

The phosphoinositide code is read by a plethora of protein domains.
Overduin M, Kervin TA.
Expert Rev Proteomics. 2021 Aug 23:1-20. doi: 10.1080/14789450.2021.1962302. 

Phosphoinositide Recognition Sites Are Blocked by Metabolite Attachment.
Kervin TA, Wiseman BC, Overduin M.
Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021 Jul 22;9:690461. doi: 10.3389/fcell.2021.690461.

Regulation of the Phosphoinositide Code by Phosphorylation of Membrane Readers.
Kervin TA, Overduin M.
Cells. 2021 May 14;10(5):1205. doi: 10.3390/cells10051205.

Structural biology of endogenous membrane protein assemblies in native nanodiscs.
Brown CJ, Trieber C, Overduin M.
Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2021 Apr 26;69:70-77. doi: 10.1016/j.sbi.2021.03.008. Online ahead of print.

Multisite interactions of prions with membranes and native nanodiscs.
Overduin M, Wille H, Westaway D.
Chem Phys Lipids. 2021 May;236:105063. doi: 10.1016/j.chemphyslip.2021.105063. Epub 2021 Feb 15.


Research Associates

Catharine Trieber

Rakesh Bhat


Selected Publications


DiscoveryLab: sharing tools for novel targets, therapeutics, diagnostics and devices

Molscreen: sharing tools for ligand identification and nanodisc characterization

NANUC: Canada's original national biomolecular NMR facility

Science Capital: working together with industry, start-ups, business, investors and policy makers

CureCancer: engaging the public in the understanding, detection and treatment of cancer

SMALP Network: developing polymer systems for studying membrane proteins in nanodiscs


Office: 333A MSB

Lab: 333/356 MSB

Campus Map