Growth and heredity of protocells at the origin of life under simulated hydrothermal conditions

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Cell and Developmental Biology


Autotrophic metabolism in bacteria and archaea is driven by electrochemical ion gradients across the plasma membrane to fix CO2 as organic molecules. Computational modelling and experimental work suggest that a rudimentary form of membrane heredity could have driven growth of protocells under alkaline hydrothermal conditions. This project will develop the initial computational modelling to consider the introduction of an energy currency (e.g. acetyl phosphate) in this setting, specifically analysing the prebiotic synthesis of amino acids, sugars and nucleotides. The project will test the model's predictions in the lab, using microfluidic chips coupled to FTIR, Raman, GC-MS, LC-MS and HPLC.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M009513/1 30/09/2015 29/09/2023
2089390 Studentship BB/M009513/1 30/09/2018 30/01/2023 Hanadi Rammu