Call for abstracts for AbSciCon 2015 session on compartmentalization in early life

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The Astrobiology Science Conference 2015 (AbSciCon 2015) is taking place in Chicago, IL from June 15-19, 2015. I am coorganizing (with Andrew Pohorille) a session on the early evolution of compartmentalization, with particular interest in how it coevolved with metabolism and heritable polymers. Researchers wishing to submit abstracts should do so through the AbSciCon 2015 website. If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact Andrew or myself (information given below). Note that the deadline is approaching: 5PM Central Time (GMT-6), Wednesday, March 4th – the deadline has been extended to 11:59PM CST (GMT-6) tonight! Extended again – abstracts will be accepted until midnight CDT (GMT-5 – note the time change) Wednesday 3/11.

Information on student travel grants is available at the conference website. The deadline is Wednesday, March 4th.


Theme:  The Origins and Subsequent Evolution of Life
Session Title:  Co-Evolution of Compartmentalization, Metabolism, and Informational Polymers
Topic Short Title (listed on abstract submission form):  Co-Evolution of Compartmentalization, Metabolism, and Informational Polymers
Organizer:  Aaron Engelhart (Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School),
Summary:  This session is devoted to examining the co-evolution of compartmentalization, metabolism, and informational polymers, which were the essential ingredients for the emergence of cellular life. Considerable progress has been made toward understanding and constructing simple chemical systems in which these ingredients are utilized to recapitulate primitive cell-like behaviors. Special emphasis has been placed on compartmentalization, which is perhaps the key hallmark of cellular life. Attention has been focused on fatty acid vesicles, which are likely models for ancestors of phospholipid cell membranes, as well as recently described, very distinct compartmentalization methods, such as electrostatic coacervates and aqueous two-phase systems. Toward elaborating these assemblies into protocells, topics of particular interest in this session include recent advances in (1) potential pathways for the evolution of prebiotic compartments into contemporary cell membranes and (2) the coupling between compartment dynamics (e.g., growth, permeability, and division) and internal metabolic processes. This session is co-organized by Andrew Pohorille (NASA Ames Research Center).