Genesis on the benchtop: how do we study the origin of life in the lab?
with Itay Budin
Saturday November 21, 2015 at 11:00 AM
100 Genetics & Plant Biology, UC Berkeley
The origin of life is a topic that has driven scientific research from many disciplines, ranging from astronomy to organic chemistry. Molecular biology has revealed that all life on earth shares a common ancestor, yet we know little about how those first cells arose. In this talk I will focus on laboratory efforts to understand how pools of molecules can organize and transition into biological systems capable of Darwinian evolution. A long-term goal of this research is to build simple, self-replicating cells in the lab. While this synthetic approach cannot tell us how life on Earth began, it can shed light on the conditions needed for biology to arise – and the likelihood that it has arisen elsewhere.
Itay Budin is a post-doctoral fellow in the department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and at LBNL’s Joint Bioenergy Institute, where he works with Professor Jay Keasling. His research focuses on the function and evolution of cellular membranes and lipids. Before coming to Cal, Itay received his Ph.D. from Harvard University, where he studied models for the origin of cells with Professor Jack Szostak.
This free public talk is presented as part of the monthly Science at Cal Lecture Series
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