Jack Szostak

2022 Weaver Endowed Lecture Featuring Jack Szostak

Jack Szostak

The 2022 David L. Weaver Endowed Lecture in Biophysics and Computational Biology will feature Professor Jack W. Szostak. Szostak's talk is titled "The Origin of Cellular Life."

The complexity of modern biological life has long made it difficult to understand how life could emerge spontaneously from the chemistry of the early earth.  The key to resolving this mystery lies in the simplicity of the earliest living cells.  Through our efforts to synthesize extremely simple artificial cells, we hope to discover plausible pathways for the transition from chemical evolution to Darwinian evolution. We view the two key components of a primitive cell as a self-replicating nucleic acid genome, and a self-replicating boundary structure. I will describe simple and robust pathways for the coupled growth and division of model primitive cell membranes, along with recent experimental progress towards the synthesis of self-replicating nucleic acids. I will also discuss model systems that may provide a route to artificial life with a biochemistry that is distinct from that of existing biology.

The David L. Weaver Endowed Lecture in Biophysics and Computational Biology featuring Jack Szostak will be held on November 16, 2022 from 3-4 PM in the Genome Center's auditorium. Zoom link to attend virtually.

The lecture is free and open to the community. The series honors the memory of David L. Weaver, a distinguished biophysicist and professor at Tufts University for whom the endowment was established in 2006.

For more information about previous lectures, please visit the David L. Weaver lecture page. The endowed lecture series, established by David's family, is just one of many ways in which people have helped make a difference in advancing UC Davis' commitments to teaching, research, and public service.

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