Date of Birth: 31 December 1982
Institution: Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology, Pfotenhauerstrasse. 108, 01307
Position: Independent Research Group Leader
2007-2010 PhD studies in Membrane Biophysics, Imperial College London, UK
Supervisors Profs. John Seddon and Richard Templer
2002-2006 MSc in Chemistry, Imperial College London
Since 2016 Independent Research Group leader, MPI-CBG, MaxSynBio, Dresden
2014-2016 Post-doc in Synthetic Biology, with Prof. Stephen Mann and Dr. Ross Anderson,
University of Bristol, U.K.
2011-2014 Post-doc in Origin of Life studies, with Prof. Stephen Mann, University of Bristol, U.K.
2010-2011 Knowledge Transfer Secondee, Diamond Light Source, Oxfordshire, UK.
Fellowships and Awards
2019-present Fellow of Elisabeth-Schiemann Kolleg, Max Planck Society
2018 Fellow, Centre for Advanced studies, Ludwig Maximillian University, Munich
Since 2016 Fellow, B Cube, Center for Molecular Bioengineering, TU Dresden
2010-2011 EPSRC Knowledge Transfer Secondment
2006 Degussa Prize for Physical Chemistry
Coacervates as protocellular models?
In the 1920’s Oparin hypothesized that membrane free compartments formed by coacervation would have provided a viable route to compartmentalize prebiotic reactions as a precursor to the modern cell. Studies which support this hypothesis are limited in that the precise chemical composition and conditions on prebiotic earth remain a mystery. Despite this, using bottom-up approaches allows us to generate physically relevant protocell models in the lab. This provides a means to unravel the effect of compartmentalization by coacervation can have provided a selection pressure for facilitating the transition from a chemical world to a biological world.
Here, I will present strategies for the design and synthesis of protocell models based on liquid-liquid phase separation of oppositely charged components (coacervates) and describe how these compartments can provide alternative environments compared to buffer solution to tune reaction kinetics.
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