Apr 7, 2020
Research professor David
Deamer’s work led to the exciting discovery of lipid material in
meteorites that are capable of “self-assembly” into membranous
material, a key step in understanding the first cell membrane
He explains this and other life-origin elements, such as
David Deamer is a Research
Professor of Biomolecular Engineering at UC Santa Cruz. In this
podcast he begins with the early days of his research, including a
sabbatical in England when he worked with Dr. Alec D. Bangham, the
inventor of liposomes, which are essentially drug delivery
compounds made from lipids.
Deamer and Bangham realized no one had figured out where membranes came from in the beginnings of life. That began a decade-long research project that included meteorites, lipids, astrobiology, and biomolecular engineering research.
After he explains this discovery
of “self-assembly” of membrane formation from these meteor lipids,
he describes his current research, including steps toward
understanding how a cell membrane might surround these other cell
He describes how monomers lead to polymers, which lead to amino acids and how nucleic acids eventually arise. He also gets specific about the steps of life and how his research now anticipates the beginnings of metabolism and RNA catalyzation.
For more information, he advises searching the NASA website for astrobiology information. In addition, a journal called Astrobiology can be found at major academic research libraries and Nature and Science magazines publish exciting papers as well.