Can we build a minimal form of life? Would it be possible to construct a synthetic cell from basic molecular components, a man-made object that can sustain itself by consuming energy and that can reproduce similar offspring? This symposium will feature an Academy Lecture entitled The origins of cellular life by Nobel Laureate Jack Szostak, Professor of Molecular Biology at Harvard University.
Engineering a living cell from basic components is one of the greatest challenges in the life sciences today. While the aim itself is daunting, new ideas are now emerging about how to address these questions using minimal approaches from synthetic biology.
This symposium will feature an Academy Lecture entitled The origins of cellular life by Nobel Laureate Jack Szostak, Professor of Molecular Biology at Harvard University. For more than two decades, Prof. Szostak has been conducting pioneering research on the origin of life on Earth, in vitro evolution of RNA, and the construction of artificial cellular life in the laboratory.
His lecture will be preceded by three short lectures by leading Dutch scientists, all three Academy members, who are researching synthetic cells.
- Cees Dekker, Professor of Molecular Biophysics, Delft University of Technology – Towards division of synthetic cells
- Bert Poolman, Professor of Biochemistry, University of Groningen – Towards a metabolism for synthetic cells
- Wilhelm Huck, Professor of Organic Chemistry, Radboud University Nijmegen – Towards an information carrier in synthetic cells
- Jack Szostak, Professor of Molecular Biology, Harvard University – The origins of cellular life