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David Deamer
University of California, Santa Cruz


David W. Deamer is a Research Professor in the Department of Biomolecular Engineering and Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His undergraduate B.Sc. degree was in Chemistry, at Duke University, Durham NC (1961) and his Ph.D. in Physiological Chemistry from the Ohio State University School of Medicine (1965). Following post-doctoral research at UC Berkeley, he joined the faculty at UC Davis in 1967. In 1994 he moved his laboratory to UC Santa Cruz.

Prof. Deamer’s research interest is how cellular life arose on the Earth nearly four billion years ago. This research involves studies of meteorites that contain organic carbon compounds, and self-assembly of complex lipid-protein structures that exhibit some of the properties of life. Selected papers from these studies are provided below, and are available as pdf files. A second research area is concerns DNA transport through nanoscopic pores in membranes. This work is focused on developing an instrument that can analyze nucleic acids as individual molecules.

Prof. Deamer is in the process of writing a book on the origin of life that will be published by UC Press. A draft version of the table of contents is included below. Members of the group are invited to make suggestions about what topics should be included in the book, and how they should be presented. Keep in mind that the book is intended not as a scientific textbook, but instead for readers of magazines such as Scientific American, New Scientist, National Geographic and Discover.

NAI Project Collaborators