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Wednesday, June 7 • 15:00 - 16:00
Plenary Lecture - John Sutherland - Origin of life, prebiotic chemistry, systems chemistry, protometabolism

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By reconciling previously conflicting views about the origin of life – in which one or other cellular subsystem precedes, and then ‘invents’ the others – a new modus operandi for its study is suggested. Guided by this, a cyanosulfidic protometabolism is uncovered 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.Copper plays several key roles in this chemistry, thus, for example, copper(I)-copper(II) photoredox chemistry generates hydrated electrons, and copper(I) catalysed cross coupling and copper(II) driven oxidative cross-coupling reactions generate key feedstock molecules. Geochemical scenarios consistent with this protometabolism are outlined. Finally, the transition of a system from the inanimate to the animate state is considered in the context of there being intermediate stages of partial ‘aliveness’.

 

 

 

 

 


Speakers
avatar for John Sutherland

John Sutherland

John Sutherland studied chemistry at the University of Oxford, and then spent a spell as a Kennedy Scholar at Harvard with Jeremy Knowles. Upon return to the UK, he carried out his doctoral work with Jack Baldwin at Oxford, and then stayed in Oxford first as a Junior Research Fel... Read More →


Wednesday June 7, 2017 15:00 - 16:00
Auditorium 4