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Light to Life

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Tuesday, 13 September 2016, 4:00

Tuesday, September 13, 2016. 4:00 PM. Light to Life. Paul Falkowski, Rutgers University. Sponsored by Rutgers Institute of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences. Event flyer pdf here (110 KB) . More information here.


All life on Earth is based on electron transfer reactions far from thermodynamic equilibrium. In this talk, I argue that photogeochemical reactions of minerals were transformational in the origins and persistence of biologically catalyzed electron transfer reactions on Earth.


Increasingly high resolution protein structures provide an opportunity to glimpse into the deep past and examine the basic motifs that have been utilized repeatedly over time. In this talk, I will examine the origins of biologically catalyzed electron transfer (redox) reactions, which form the basis of all life on Earth, and focus on the evolution of the structures responsible for these reactions. The structural analyses of extant oxidorectases provide clues as to how the earliest life forms evolved increasingly intricate bioelectronic devices. Further, I will explore how photobiochemical reactions potentially evolved to provide the long-term power supply for life by experimental analyses of the photochemical reactivity of common minerals.

Location  Cook Student Center, Multipurpose Room C, New Brunswick, NJ