Chemical Evolution

Georgia Tech presents great opportunities for cross-disciplinary collaboration.  Under the leadership of Prof. Nick Hud, who has long been interested in the chemical origins of informational polymers such as DNA and RNA, we are working with the NSF/NASA Center for Chemical Evolution (CCE) providing the latest bioanalytical tools to aid in answering key prebiotic chemistry questions. As PI, innovation leader, and management team member of the CCE, Prof. Fernandez collaborates and consults in a variety of projects, ranging from the study of night-day polymerization reactions by TWIMS-MS, MS identification of mineral-catalyzed abiotic phosphorylation reaction products, ambient imaging of model formamide reactions on mineral surfaces [1], and the re-analysis of archival samples produced by Stanley Miller in the 1950’s which were recently discovered [2, 3].
 
(1)       R. V. Bennett, H. J. Cleaves, 2nd, J. M. Davis, D. A. Sokolov, T. M. Orlando, J. L. Bada, F. M. Fernandez; "Desorption electrospray ionization imaging mass spectrometry as a tool for investigating model prebiotic reactions on mineral surfaces". Anal Chem 85, 1276-1279 (2013).doi: 10.1021/ac303202n
(2)       E. T. Parker, H. J. Cleaves, J. P. Dworkin, D. P. Glavin, M. Callahan, A. Aubrey, A. Lazcano, J. L. Bada; "Primordial synthesis of amines and amino acids in a 1958 miller H2S-rich spark discharge experiment". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 108, 5526-5531 (2011).doi: DOI 10.1073/pnas.1019191108
(3)       A. P. Johnson, H. J. Cleaves, J. P. Dworkin, D. P. Glavin, A. Lazcano, J. L. Bada; "The Miller volcanic spark discharge experiment". Science 322, 404-404 (2008).doi: DOI 10.1126/science.1161527