CIBIO-PhD Colloquia 2016 - John Sutherland

13 September 2016
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PhD Colloquia 2016

a forum between young researchers and scientists

This is a mini series of 6 seminars given by top experts in different fields covering almost all the area of the PhD program. Each colloquium is a friendly forum where students can learn how to communicate and critically evaluate science. Additionally, it is an opportunity to discuss ongoing research in an informal atmosphere and obtain valuable feedbacks from the experts.
PhD Colloquia bring together young scientists, senior scientists and students in a colloquial setting, encouraging interactions and exchanges of ideas.

The fifth seminar will take place on 13 September at 5 pm at room A204 of the Polo Ferraris in Povo1.

Invited speaker: John Sutherland (MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Cambridge)

Title: "Chemical Origins of Molecular Biology"


By reconciling previously conflicting views about the origin of life - in which one or other cellular subsystem precedes, and then "invents" the others - we suggested a new modus operandi for its study. Guided by this, we uncovered a cyanosulfidic protometabolism which uses UV light and the stoichiometric reducing power of hydrogen sulfide to convert hydrogen cyanide, and a couple of other prebiotic feedstock molecules which can be derived therefrom, into nucleic acid, peptide and lipid building blocks [1,2]. We are now considering the transition of systems from the inanimate to the animate state through intermerdiate stages of partial "aliveness", and recent progress in the elaboration of building blocks into larger (oligomeric) molecules and systems in this context will also be described.

[1] B. H. Patel et al. Nature Chem. 7, 301 (2015)
[2] J. D. Stherland, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 55, 104 (2016)


Next seminar on 2 December. Speaker: Emanuele Buratti (ICGEB Trieste)

Initiative organized by the 29th Cycle PhD students of the PhD Program in Biomolecular Sciences