Fundamental research: Origin of Life / RNA world

In collaboration with Prof. Eörs Szathmáry group at the Parmenides Foundation (Hungary), we will use a unique multi-disciplinary approach, combining physics, chemistry and biology, and using droplets in microfluidic systems as analogues of protocells, to theoretically and experimentally investigate the emergence of RNA replicators, their cooperation in protocells and the origin of chromosomes. This includes simulation of the emergence of larger genomes and the computational analysis of coevolution of the latter with membrane properties, and a transition from an RNA-based metabolism to one based on catalysis by proteins.

This project called EvoEvo is funded through an Advanced Grant of the European Research Council to Eörs Szathmáry (Principal Investigator and Coordinator) and Andrew Griffiths (co-PI).