OoLALA Research Showcase Seminarshttps://nai.nasa.gov/seminars/featured-seminar-channels/oolala-research-showcase/Celebrating Women in Origins of Life, Artificial Life, & Astrobiology. A public lecture series sponsored by the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (WID) and Women in Science & Engineering Leadership Institute held at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Seminarsen-usSat, 06 Jun 2020 05:18:36 +0000Simulating Titan’s Atmospherehttps://nai.nasa.gov/seminars/featured-seminar-channels/oolala-research-showcase/2019/5/8/simulating-titans-atmosphere/Planetary atmospheres may play an important role in the habitability of a world. To better understand the chemistry that occurs in the broad range of atmospheres that exist in the universe, we have run a series of laboratory atmosphere simulation experiments ranging from the cold nitrogen/methane atmospheres of Pluto and Titan to the warm carbon dioxide dominated atmospheres of Venus and some extrasolar planets. I will discuss what we have learned from these experiments and from exploration of the solar system. Sarah Hörst is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Johns Hopkins University where she studies the formation and composition of planetary atmospheric hazes. Seminar link: <a href="https://zoom.us/j/284978681" target="_new">https://zoom.us/j/284978681</a>https://nai.nasa.gov/seminars/featured-seminar-channels/oolala-research-showcase/2019/5/8/simulating-titans-atmosphere/Building Minimal Synthetic Cellshttps://nai.nasa.gov/seminars/featured-seminar-channels/oolala-research-showcase/2019/4/29/building-minimal-synthetic-cells/The earliest evolution of life included a series of transition from non-living matter, through prebiotic organic synthesis and chemical evolution, towards the Last Universal Common Ancestor of all life. Our work focuses on the immediately-pre-life stage of evolution, when chemistry became biology. We create synthetic minimal cells that exhibit some key properties of life, without being entirely alive. Those cells express proteins inside phospholipid liposomes, using cell-free protein expression systems. Thus, represent the latest stage of prebiotic evolution, after the establishment of the Central Dogma. Those cells do not exhibit active homeostasis, but they can maintain separate internal environment, they can grow, divide and evolve. The controllability and flexibility of those minimal cells allow us studying chemical processes underlying major transitions in evolution. In our work, we create synthetic minimal cells expressing complex genetic pathways, with membrane proteins facilitating communication with external environment. Together, this creates a comprehensive system to study the advent of cellular processes on the boundary between prebiotic and Darwinian evolution. Kate Adamala is an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota Department of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development. Seminar link: <a href="https://zoom.us/j/752429748" target="_new"> https://zoom.us/j/752429748</a>https://nai.nasa.gov/seminars/featured-seminar-channels/oolala-research-showcase/2019/4/29/building-minimal-synthetic-cells/Resurrecting Ancient Biomoleculeshttps://nai.nasa.gov/seminars/featured-seminar-channels/oolala-research-showcase/2019/4/17/resurrecting-ancient-biomolecules/For more than three billion years, life and the physical Earth environment have coevolved. A record of this coevolution has been left both in geological materials and in the genetic information of modern organisms. However, understanding the environmental conditions that accompanied the origin and development of early life has remained a significant challenge. On a molecular level, the intersection of biology and the environment can be revealed by the properties of enzymes that drive biogeochemical interactions. By reconstructing and studying ancient enzymes predicted by modern genetic information, biology can be used in a novel way to investigate both the early evolution of these enzymes and the environment of past life. The integration of ancient enzymatic properties and the geological record can reveal how the complex biogeochemical cycles that sustain life on Earth have evolved, and how they may develop on other worlds. Amanda Garcia is NASA Astrobiology postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Arizona-Tucson department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. Seminar link: <a href="https://zoom.us/j/802217761" target="_new">https://zoom.us/j/802217761</a>https://nai.nasa.gov/seminars/featured-seminar-channels/oolala-research-showcase/2019/4/17/resurrecting-ancient-biomolecules/Searching for the Laws of Lifehttps://nai.nasa.gov/seminars/featured-seminar-channels/oolala-research-showcase/2019/3/28/searching-for-the-laws-of-life/Currently we do not know what life is, or whether there exist universal laws - in the same sense the laws of physics and chemistry are universal - that describe life. While this may not matter so much for the study of life as it exists at present or in the past on Earth, it is critically important in the field of astrobiology, which seeks to understand life not just on Earth but anywhere in the universe. In this talk I discuss new approaches to understanding what universal principles might underlie living matter, from what happens within individual cells up to the planetary scale. Sara I. Walker is assistant professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE) at Arizona State University. She is a co-founder of the astrobiology social network SAGANet.org and on the board of directors for Blue Marble Space, a nonprofit education and science organization. To register for the event, visit: <a href="https://uwmadison.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_42bWRNBOq3gxRAx">go.wisc.edu/OoLALA</a> Seminar link:<a href="https://zoom.us/j/516695234" target="_new">https://zoom.us/j/516695234</a>https://nai.nasa.gov/seminars/featured-seminar-channels/oolala-research-showcase/2019/3/28/searching-for-the-laws-of-life/