Groundbreaking Research on the Origins of Life

SAT, MAY 1, 2010 (22:47)

Two researchers at the famous Szostak Lab at Harvard University describe their respective contributions to scientific understanding of the emergence of life. Two essentials of life are (a) self-replication and (b) a membrane. Dr. Matthew W. Powner, a Research Fellow at the Szostak Lab, explains the breakthrough he and his colleagues made in the reconstruction of the origin of nucleotides, the basic material of self-replication. Itay Budin, a doctoral candidate in the Szostak Lab, explains the acclaimed model he devised for the development of lipid membranes on the early Earth. Both projects provide clues to the origins of the earliest stages of life.

+ BIO: Matthew Powner

Matthew W. Powner, PhD, is an organic and biological chemist and research fellow at the Harvard Medical School, working on the Harvard Origins of Life Initiative Since 2009, Dr. Powner has worked with Nobel laureate Prof. J. W. Szostak in the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School.

+ BIO: Itay Budin

Itay Budin is a Ph.D. student in the department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard University. He is undertaking his thesis research in Jack Szostak’s lab at Massachusetts General Hospital. His research focuses on the origin and evolution of biological membranes.

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NOVA: Darwin's Darkest Hours Series
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NOVA: Origins Series
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