Origin of Life

Scientific studies related to the origin of life can focus on a wide variety of research areas. Many Earth scientists interested in this topic look to the rock record for ancient clues about what environments were like while life was emerging. Knowledge of these conditions can be used to design laboratory and computational experiments to mimic early Earth settings, and perhaps inform us as to what proto-metabolic processes were promoted by particular environments. In our lab, previous efforts have been directed at understanding how biomolecules such as amino acids and nucleic acid bases could have formed in hydrothermal environments. Ongoing efforts include assessing the potential for inorganic cofactors to drive biomolecular redox reactions as part of NASA-NSF-funded Ideas Lab collaborative effort.

Research Group