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Conference Program
 
Origin of Life
(This meeting is currently known as "Origins of Life")
January 8-13, 2012
Hotel Galvez
Galveston, TX

Related Meeting Information
The Origin of Life Gordon Research Conference was held in conjunction with the Origin of Life Gordon Research Seminar. Please refer to the Origin of Life GRS web page for more information.

The origin of life on Earth, and its possible existence elsewhere in the universe, offer some of science’s greatest unsolved problems. Likewise, life’s early evolution and interplay with the developing planet are shrouded in mystery. Fortunately, interdisciplinary observational and experimental approaches may shed light on these problems. The 2012 Gordon Research Conference on the Origin of Life will feature recent and cutting-edge results from chemistry, biology, astronomy, geology, and other fields that illuminate our understanding of these problem areas. A variety of perspectives will be presented, and sessions will address attempts to fabricate life or life-like systems in the laboratory, the search for extra-solar Earth like planets, recent developments in our understanding of the early history of Earth, Mars, and Titan, prebiotic and organic chemistry on the early Earth and elsewhere in the solar system, and reconstruction of early life forms and genomes, among other exciting topics.

Together, the sessions will provide a dynamic state-of-the-art summary of the field. The Conference will bring together a collection of investigators who are at the forefront of their fields, and will provide opportunities for junior scientists and graduate students to present their work in poster format and exchange ideas with the presenters. As is customary for GRC conferences, there will be no events scheduled in the afternoon, allowing ample time for additional formal and informal discussions and presentations.

Immediately preceding the GRC, on Saturday, January 9, a Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) will be held for young investigators. The graduate seminar is co-chaired by Dr. Sara Walker of Arizona State University and Ms. Katarzyna Adamala of Massachusetts General Hospital. Funding is being sought to allow partial travel and registration support for both the GRC and the GRS for graduate students and postdoctoral scientists who participate as presenters in the Gordon Research Seminar. For more information, please go to the 2012 Origin of Life GRS web site.


SUNDAY
4:00 pm - 8:00 pmArrival and Check-in (Office Closed 6:00 pm - 7:45 pm)
6:00 pmDinner
7:30 pm - 7:35 pmWelcome / Introductory Comments by GRC Site Staff
7:35 pm - 7:40 pmChair's Introduction
7:40 pm - 9:30 pmGenetics, Energetics and Compartmentalization
Discussion Leader: Jim Cleaves (Georgia Tech)
7:40 pm - 8:20 pmJack Szostak (Harvard University/Massachusetts General Hospital)
"The Transition from Complex Chemistry to Simple Biology"
8:20 pm - 8:35 pmDiscussion
8:35 pm - 9:15 pmAddy Pross (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev)
"Extending Darwinian Evolution to Inanimate Matter"
9:15 pm - 9:30 pmDiscussion
MONDAY
7:30 am - 8:30 amBreakfast
8:30 amGroup Photo
9:00 am - 12:30 pmOrganics in Meteorites
Discussion Leader: Sandra Pizzarello (Arizona State University)
9:00 am - 9:30 amMike Callahan (NASA Goddard)
"Nucleobases and Their Analogs in Carbonaceous Meteorites"
9:30 am - 9:45 amDiscussion
9:45 am - 10:15 amGeorge Cooper (NASA Ames)
"The Enantiomeric Ratios of Meteoritic Organic Compounds: Their Possible Roles in the Origin of Life"
10:15 am - 10:30 amDiscussion
10:30 amCoffee Break
11:00 am - 11:30 amYoko Kebukawa (Carnegie Institution of Washington)
"New Insight into Origin and Evolution of Insoluble Organic Matter in Meteorites"
11:30 am - 11:45 amDiscussion
11:45 am - 12:15 pmRichard Hoover (NASA Marshall)
"Biomolecules, Biomarkers and Microfossils in Carbonaceous Meteorites"
12:15 pm - 12:30 pmDiscussion
12:30 pmLunch
1:30 pm - 4:00 pmFree Time
4:00 pm - 6:00 pmPoster Session
6:00 pmDinner
7:30 pm - 9:30 pmEarly Earth Environments
Discussion Leader: Nita Sahai (University of Akron)
7:30 pm - 8:00 pmDustin Trail (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)
"New constraints for the composition of Earth's atmosphere ~4300 Myr ago"
8:00 pm - 8:10 pmDiscussion
8:10 pm - 8:40 pmNicole Zellner (Albion College)
"New Insights into the Late Heavy Bombardment Period"
8:40 pm - 8:50 pmDiscussion
8:50 pm - 9:20 pmDionysus Foustoukos (Carnegie Institution of Washington)
"Isotope Proxies for Abiogenic Hydrocarbons"
9:20 pm - 9:30 pmDiscussion
TUESDAY
7:30 am - 8:30 amBreakfast
9:00 am - 12:30 pmPrebiotic Chemistry and Self-Organization
Discussion Leader: Antonio Lazcano (UNAM)
9:00 am - 9:30 amRobert Pascal (CNRS Montpellier)
"Are there There rules Rules for the Emergence of Metabolism?"
9:30 am - 9:45 amDiscussion
9:45 am - 10:15 amMattanjah de Vries (University of California Santa Barbara)
"Possible Relics of Prebiotic Chemistry: UV Photoproperties of Nucleic Acids"
10:15 am - 10:30 amDiscussion
10:30 amCoffee Break
11:00 am - 11:30 amGonen Ashkenasy (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev)
"Systems Chemistry of Peptide Networks"
11:30 am - 11:45 amDiscussion
11:45 am - 12:15 pmDavid Lynn (Emory University)
"Intelligent Materials"
12:15 pm - 12:30 pmDiscussion
12:30 pmLunch
1:30 pm - 4:00 pmFree Time
4:00 pm - 6:00 pmPoster Session
6:00 pmDinner
7:30 pm - 9:30 pmLaboratory Models of Cellular Processes
Discussion Leader: Jan Spitzer (MCP Inc.)
7:30 pm - 8:00 pmJames Attwater (Cambridge University)
"RNA-catalyzed RNA Replication"
8:00 pm - 8:10 pmDiscussion
8:10 pm - 8:40 pmChristine Keating (Pennsylvania State University)
"Aqueous Phase Systems as a Minimal Cytoplasm: Partitioning, Local Reactivity, and Liposome Encapsulation"
8:40 pm - 8:50 pmDiscussion
8:50 pm - 9:20 pmSteen Rasmussen (University of Southern Denmark)
"What Might the Assembly of Minimal Protocells Reveal About the Origin of Life?"
9:20 pm - 9:30 pmDiscussion
WEDNESDAY
7:30 am - 8:30 amBreakfast
9:00 am - 12:30 pmEarly Translation
Discussion Leader: Laura Landweber (Princeton University)
9:00 am - 9:30 amStephen Freeland (University of Hawaii Manoa)
"Evolution of a Highly Adapted Genetic Code"
9:30 am - 9:45 amDiscussion
9:45 am - 10:15 amMichael Yarus (University of Colorado Boulder)
"Coding as an Expression of RNA/Amino Acid Chemistry"
10:15 am - 10:30 amDiscussion
10:30 amCoffee Break
11:00 am - 11:30 am George Fox (University of Houston)
"Ribosome Evolution Provides Insight to the Pre-LUCA World"
11:30 am - 11:45 amDiscussion
11:45 am - 12:15 pmMichael Hecht (Princeton University)
"Enabling Life with Genes and Proteins Designed in the Laboratory"
12:15 pm - 12:30 pmDiscussion
12:30 pmLunch
1:30 pm - 4:00 pmFree Time
4:00 pm - 6:00 pmPoster Session
6:00 pmDinner
7:00 pm - 7:30 pmBusiness Meeting
Nominations for the next Vice Chair; Fill out Conference Evaluation Forms; Discuss future Site & Scheduling preferences; Election of the next Vice Chair
7:30 pm - 9:30 pmLife As We Don't Know It
Discussion Leader: Steven Benner (FAME)
7:30 pm - 8:00 pmPiet Herdewijn (Rega Institute, Catholic University of Leuven)
"The development of alternative chemistry to sustain life"
8:00 pm - 8:10 pmDiscussion
8:10 pm - 8:40 pmChristoph Flamm (Institute of Theoretical Chemistry)
"Graph Grammar Based Approaches to Explore Chemical Transformation Space"
8:40 pm - 8:50 pmDiscussion
8:50 pm - 9:20 pmFelisa Wolfe-Simon (USGS)
"Characterizations of intracellular arsenic in a bacterium"
9:20 pm - 9:30 pmDiscussion
THURSDAY
7:30 am - 8:30 amBreakfast
9:00 am - 12:30 pmThe Search for Signs of Life and Organics in the Solar System
Discussion Leader: Louis D'Hendecourt (CNRS)
9:00 am - 9:30 amNathalie Carrasco (LATMOS)
"The active role of Nitrogen in the organic aerosol production in Titan's atmosphere"
9:30 am - 9:45 amDiscussion
9:45 am - 10:15 amMichael Mumma (NASA Goddard)
"Mars First"
10:15 am - 10:30 amDiscussion
10:30 amCoffee Break
11:00 am - 11:30 amZita Martins (Imperial College London)
"Biomarkers and Detection of Life in our Solar System"
11:30 am - 11:45 amDiscussion
11:45 am - 12:15 pmChristopher Adami (Keck Graduate Institute)
"Biosignatures for Alien Life Detection"
12:15 pm - 12:30 pmDiscussion
12:30 pmLunch
1:30 pm - 4:00 pmFree Time
4:00 pm - 6:00 pmPoster Session
6:00 pmDinner
7:30 pm - 9:30 pmExtra-Solar Planets
Discussion Leader: Eduardo Martin (Centro de Astrobiologia)
7:30 pm - 8:00 pmWinner - Best GRS Presentation (TBD), Poster Awards
8:00 pm - 8:10 pmDiscussion
8:10 pm - 8:40 pmLisa Kaltenegger (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)
"Super-Earths and Life - an interdisciplinary puzzle: What planets could provide conditions for life?"
8:40 pm - 8:50 pmDiscussion
8:50 pm - 9:20 pmShawn Domagal-Goldman (NASA HQ)
"False Positives and False Negatives in the Search for Life on Extrasolar Planets"
9:20 pm - 9:30 pmDiscussion
FRIDAY
7:30 am - 8:30 amBreakfast
9:00 amDeparture

 
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