Our third paper on the chemical origins of life is published in Nature. We show that ferrous iron promotes a one-pot reaction network that resembles the Krebs cycle and amino acid synthesis, starting from just pyruvate and glyoxylate. These enzyme-free reactions could have been a precursor to biological metabolism. Congrats to Kamila and Sreejith! Free read-only version here. Paywall version here. Also, check out the accompanying News & Views article by Robert Pascal here.
Kamila and Elodie’s invited account of our recent work on non-enzymatic metabolic pathways has been published in Bioorganic & Medicinal Letters. The special issue is in honor of the 2019 Tetrahedron Young Investigator Award to Dr. Raphaël Rodriguez.
Elodie’s collaboration with Dr. Samir Mameri (IUT Robert Schuman) and Profs. Ruhlmann (Strasbourg) and Schmitt (Dublin) on the properties of Mn clusters has been published in Dalton Transactions. Congrats, Elodie!
The second paper from our collaboration with the Ebbesen group describing how running a reaction between two appropriately-spaced mirrors can change its selectivity has appeared in Science. Congrats to Lucas from our lab and to all who participated from the Ebbesen group!
Congrats to Vuk Vuković on successfully defending his thesis! He is the fourth PhD student to graduate from the group. After throwing a big party with friends from all over Europe, he will return to the lab for three months before heading off to his next adventure. Special thanks to jury members Prof. Vincent Gandon, Prof. Sébastien Thibaudeau and Dr. Joanna Wencel-Delord.
ProtoMet (acronym of the project “Protometabolic pathways: exploring the chemical roots of systems biology” funded by European Union through the European Training Network H2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (ITN) – GA n. 813873) will offer the opportunity to motivated international Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) to address the tremendous challenge of understanding how prebiotic chemistry gave rise to life by training a new generation of scientists to think big, but also to work methodically and logically alongside colleagues from academia and industry.
The goal of the project led by the University of Strasbourg (ESR2) is to identify potential catalytic feedback effects resulting from the products of a primitive metabolism. For instance, can short peptides, which are made from amino acids, enable ligand-accelerated catalysis in reactions that produce amino acids, such as in the metal-catalysed transamination of ketoacids? Can chirality be transmitted from peptide to amino acid, and if so, does this transmission exhibit non-linearity? These investigations will shed light on how a primitive metabolism can self-complexify before the onset of Darwinian evolution and may also provide insight into the origin of biological homochirality.
Your background: A master degree / level in chemistry. Possessing at least the B2 level of the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) in English.
How to Apply
Send detailed CV and motivation letter to firstname.lastname@example.org mentioning “Protomet PhD recruitment” in the subject. The deadline for application is January, 15th 2019.
Jing Yi has joined the group as a PhD student, funded by the Chinese Scholarship Council. She is the lone member of the group’s fifth incoming class of PhD students. Welcome back, Jing!
A warm welcome to new postdoctoral fellow Jan Gorges, who comes to from Uli Kazmaier’s group at Saarland University, where he worked on the total synthesis of natural products. Welcome, Jan!
Congrats to Dr. Kamila Muchowska for winning the People’s Choice award for Best Talk at the Polonium Foundation meeting “Science: Polish Perspectives 2018” in Berlin! Her talk described her recent advances in understanding the origins of biological metabolism. This is Kamila’s second “best talk” award in the part three months.
Congrats to Sreejith Varma on successfully defending his thesis! He is the third PhD student to graduate from the group. After a trip back to India, he will return to the lab for two months before heading off to a postdoc position at Charité Hospital in Berlin. Special thanks to jury members Prof. Marie-Christine Maurel, Dr. Cornelia Meinert and Prof. Peter Faller.