Joseph has received funding from the Volkswagen Foundation for a project called “Forming catalysts: A basic principle of deep chemistry, life chemistry and life”, which will be carried out in collaboration with Prof. William F. Martin (Düsseldorf) and Dr. Harun Tüysüz (MPI Mülheim/Ruhr). Each lab will roughly equally share the 1.5 M€ in funding. See the press release in English here and in German here. We are looking forward to officially getting the project started!
Congratulations to Dr. Sreejith Varma, who won the FRC Thesis Prize for his PhD thesis on the chemical origins of metabolic pathways. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Charité Hospital in Berlin. Below, Sreejith and Vuk pose with their proud mothers after the graduation ceremony.
A warm welcome to new postdoctoral fellow Ankita Malik, who comes to us from the group of Daniel Varón Silva and Peter Seeberger at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, where she worked on complex polysaccharide synthesis. Welcome, Ankita!
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!