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Gordon Research Conferences
Meeting Details

Origin of Life (GRS)
Gordon Research Seminar

Note: This conference is currently known as "Origins of Life (GRS)".


January 7-8, 2012


Hotel Galvez
Galveston, TX


Sara Imari Walker

Associate Chair:
Katarzyna Adamala

Meeting Description

The Gordon Research Seminar on Origin of Life is a unique forum for graduate students, post-docs, and other scientists with comparable levels of experience and education to present and exchange new data and cutting edge ideas.

Identifying the mechanisms governing the origin of life requires the convergence of two different perspectives: top-down, extrapolating backward in time from modern biology; and bottom-up, working from the geological and chemical conditions of prebiotic Earth (or possibly extraterrestrial environments). This conference is intended to bring early-career researchers from both perspectives together to tackle current issues in our understanding of life’s origins.

Related Meeting

This GRS was held in conjunction with the "Origin of Life" Gordon Research Conference (GRC). Refer to the associated GRC program page for more information.

Meeting Program

2:00 pm - 5:00 pmArrival and Check-in
3:30 pm - 3:45 pmIntroductory Comments by GRC Site Staff / Welcome by the GRS Conference Chair
3:45 pm - 4:30 pmKeynote Presentation
3:45 pm - 4:15 pmJack Szostak (Harvard University/Massachusetts General Hospital)
4:15 pm - 4:30 pmDiscussion
4:30 pm - 6:00 pmPoster Session I
6:00 pmDinner
7:30 pm - 9:30 pmPrebiotic Chemistry and Self-Organization
Discussion Leaders: Aaron Engelhart (Harvard Medical School) and Irena Mamajanov (Georgia Institute of Technology)
7:30 pm - 7:50 pmShenglong Zhang (Harvard Medical School)
"Toward Non-enzymatic Replication in a Synthetic Cell"
7:50 pm - 8:00 pmDiscussion
8:00 pm - 8:20 pmRafal Wieczorek (University of Southern Denmark)
"Peptides as Catalysts in the RNA World"
8:20 pm - 8:30 pmDiscussion
8:30 pm - 8:50 pmNilesh Vaidya (Portland State University)
"Fragment Recycling and Error Correction in an RNA Recombinase Ribozyme through Dynamic Transesterification Chemistry"
8:50 pm - 9:00 pmDiscussion
9:00 pm - 9:20 pmOmer Markovitch (Weizmann Institute of Science)
"Selection in Populations of Compositional Assemblies"
9:20 pm - 9:30 pmDiscussion
7:30 am - 8:30 amBreakfast
9:00 am - 11:00 amAncestral Reconstruction and Laboratory Models for Early Life
Discussion Leader: Rebecca Turk MacLeod (Harvard University)
9:00 am - 9:20 amGregory Fournier (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
"The Decline and Fall of the RNA world"
9:20 am - 9:30 amDiscussion
9:30 am - 9:50 amZiming Zhao (Georgia Institute of Technology)
"Ancestral Genome Reconstruction and Genome Evolution of Mycoplasma Species"
9:50 am - 10:00 amDiscussion
10:00 am - 10:20 amAaron Goldman (Princeton University)
"Oxytricha as a Model for Early Genetic Systems"
10:20 am - 10:30 amDiscussion
10:30 am - 10:50 amCihan Erkut (Max Planck Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology)
"Anhydrobiosis in Caenorhabditis Elegans"
10:50 am - 11:00 amDiscussion
11:00 am - 12:30 pmPoster Session II
Coffee will be served in the poster area from 11:00 am - 11:30 am
12:30 pmLunch
1:30 pm - 2:30 pmMeteorites and Early Earth Environments
Discussion Leader: Amy Kelly (Arizona State University) and Heshan Illangkoon (University of Florida)
1:30 pm - 1:50 pmCecile Feuillie (Laboratoire de Géologie De Lyon -E)
"Adsorption of Nuclei Acids on Fe-Mg Rich Phyllosilicates Characteristic of Early Oceanic Environments"
1:50 pm - 2:00 pmDiscussion
2:00 pm - 2:20 pmKaren Smith (Pennsylvania State University)
"Metabolic Precursors in Carbonaceous Chondrite Meteorites"
2:20 pm - 2:30 pmDiscussion
2:30 pm - 3:00 pmEvaluation Period
Fill out GRS Evaluation Forms
3:00 pmGordon Research Seminar ends. For those attending the associated Gordon Research Conference, please check in at the GRC Office beginning at 4:00 pm.
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