Hunting For Fossil Fat in Earth's History

TUE, APR 19, 2016 (48:26)

Molecular fossils are organic molecules derived from organisms that can be preserved for thousands to hundreds of millions of years in sediments and rocks. Compared to DNA or protein, fats (lipids) have the best chance of being preserved. Lipids also preserve information about the organism that produced them and the environment in which they were produced. Shane O’Reilly, Postdoctoral Fellow in Geobiology at MIT, hunts for molecular fossils in the geologic record and reconstructs what life and environments may have looked like at important intervals in Earth’s past.

+ BIO: Shane O'Reilly

Shane O’Reilly was born in Limerick, Ireland. He holds a BSc in Environmental Chemistry and in 2013 earned his PhD in Organic Geochemistry from Dublin City University. He is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in Geobiology at MIT. Dr. O’Reilly is funded by the EU Marie Curie Actions Program and the Irish Research Council. If he is not out in the field sampling, doing science outreach, or running, you can probably find him scratching his head in the vicinity of a mass spectrometer.

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