With this SFB/TRR, we bring together both young and experienced researchers to form a cross-disciplinary network for experimentally Origins of Life research in Munich. We will integrate the initial boundary conditions of early Earth from astronomy, geology, and chemistry for innovative lab experiments. Projects are jointly designed and led by two PIs with complementary expertise, supervising two PhD students. The students are connected through a graduate research and training network designed to make the students and PIs familiar with the often complex and multi-faceted details of the Origin of Life question. This effort includes a student-driven exhibition at the 'Deutsches Museum’ in Munich.
The experiments range from the origin of molecules, including their long-term survival in rocks or meteorites and volcanic scenarios of molecular synthesis, to the autonomous polymerization and replication of oligonucleotides, the origin of the genetic code, the role of freeze-thaw cycles, mechanisms to amplify chirality, connections to existing metabolic networks and the non-equilibrium chemical physics to form, divide and control protocells.
Our long-term aim is to reconstruct life-like molecular systems in geologically plausible conditions.
Spokesperson: Dieter Braun
Vice-Spokesperson: Ulrich Gerland
Executive Board: Paola Caselli, Erwin Frey, Petra Schwille, Oliver Trapp
Participating institutions: LMU (Physics, Chemistry, Geosciences), TUM (Physics, Chemistry), University Stuttgart (Chemistry), University Heidelberg (Biosciences), MPI for Biochemistry, MPI for Extraterrestrial Physics, Helmholtz Center, Deutsches Museum
First funding period: 1. July 2018 - 30. June 2022