Origins of Life and Astrobiology

To understand the origins, extent, and composition of life on Earth and in the Universe, molecular and cellular biologists study the conditions that make any environment on Earth and in our universe capable of supporting life. We explore the early evolution of life and determine the nature of the most primitive organisms, modern microorganisms and the environment in which they evolve. By resurrecting or synthesizing experimental model systems, we recapitulate transitions such as the oxygenation of Earth’s atmosphere and the evolution of multicellularity. To probe the limits of life, we study how microbes shape and are shaped by their environment in extreme conditions on Earth.

Astrobiology is a vibrant field that focuses on the study of the origins, distribution and evolution of life in the Universe, combining astronomy, geology, physics, biology and chemistry. We look at the night sky and wonder: Is there life out there?

Together, our research helps anticipate the extent of life elsewhere in the universe and guide the search for it."

Associated Faculty

Associate Professor, MCB
Associate Professor, MCB