Lipids and the Origin and Evolution of Life

Grant #: NNX11AG06A
Senior Scientist: David Summers

 

This work will support experiments designed to better understand the how lipids relate to the origin of life.  It looks at events leading up to the origin of life (prebiotic chemistry) and at the subsequent evolution of life after the last common ancestor, LUCA (and hence, at how one might extrapolate back from current life toward the LUCA).  This coop will include work on the formation of amphiphilic vesicles and the role they may have played in supporting and containing chemistry and the origin of life.  It also includes studying the use of lipids in microorganisms and how such usage evolved and how that information can be linked to the study of biogeochemical analysis of samples containing lipids as biosignatures.