Our fourth experimental paper on the chemical origins of life is published in Nature Ecology & Evolution. It is the result of an international collaboration with researchers in Germany and Japan. We show that three common iron-based minerals promote the hydrogenation of carbon dioxide to give, almost exclusively, the intermediates and end-products of the Acetyl CoA pathway. This enzyme-free chemistry maps closely onto the biological pathway, suggesting it had geochemical origins. Congrats to Kamila and Sreejith from our group and thanks to our great collaborators! Free read-only version here. Paywall version here. Also check out the accompanying Behind the Paper post here.
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.
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.
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.
Our second paper on the chemical origins of life is published in Nature Ecology & Evolution. We show that metallic iron powder fixes carbon dioxide as acetate and pyruvate much like the Acetyl CoA pathway, an ancient biological pathway used by microbes to build themselves. It represents a rare “chemistry-up” experiment that connects with the current “biology-down” understanding of early life. Congrats to Sreejith, Kamila and Paul! Free read-only version here. Paywall version here. Also check out the accompanying Behind the Paper post here.
Our paper on the chemical origins of life is published in Nature Ecology & Evolution. We show that more than half of the reverse Krebs cycle can occur without enzymes. Congrats to Kamila, Sreejith, Elodie, Lucas and Guang for an amazing team effort! A free link to the paper is here. The journal’s paywall version is here. Also check out our Behind the Paper blog post on the journal’s web site here.
Our first paper from our collaboration with the Ebbesen group describing how strong coupling to the vacuum field can be exploited to change the rate of chemical reactions has been accepted for publication in Angewandte Chemie. Congrats to all who participated from the Ebbesen group and to Marian and Sreejith from our group!
Sreejith Varma (financed by ERC) and Vuk Vukovic (financed by an MRT fellowship) join the group as PhD students. A warm welcome to both!