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Protometabolic pathways: exploring the chemical roots of systems biology

Objective

Understanding how prebiotic chemistry gave rise to life as we know it represents one of the greatest enduring mysteries. The complete absence of a historical record requires the collaboration of scientists from different disciplines with access to advanced tools in order to make any meaningful progress. Here, we plan to exploit this tremendous challenge to train a new generation of scientists to think big, but also to work methodically and logically alongside colleagues from academia and industry. Eight Early-Stage Researchers (ESRs) will be recruited to work in laboratories with expertise in systems chemistry, synthetic biology, microfluidics, and science philosophy to develop together a reconstituted protometabolism within compartments consisting of coacervates, vesicles, coacervate containing vesicles, and compartments etched into microfluidic chips. The underlying protometabolism will be composed of triose glycolysis and a reverse citric acid cycle and will be regulated by (metallo)peptide catalysts. Importantly, the protometabolism will support the maintenance of the compartment that houses the protocell. The ESRs that primarily focus on the construction of compartments that mimic protocellular structures will gain firsthand experience in how their formulations could be exploited as drug delivery vehicles through secondments at partner organizations. Similarly, the ESRs that develop (metallo)peptide catalysts will apply their newfound skills to the development of drug molecules through a secondment at a company that specializes in metallodrug formulations. Ultimately, by becoming experts in elucidating the chemical underpinnings of all known living cells, the ESRs will be extremely well positioned to enter a wide variety of research fields from synthetic biology to medicinal chemistry in either industry or academia.

Call for proposal

H2020-MSCA-ITN-2018
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Coordinator

UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI TRENTO
Address
Via Calepina 14
38122 Trento
Italy
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 261 499,68

Participants (7)

MAX-PLANCK-GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FORDERUNG DER WISSENSCHAFTEN EV
Germany
EU contribution
€ 252 788,40
Address
Hofgartenstrasse 8
80539 Munchen
Activity type
Research Organisations
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 303 172,56
Address
Gower Street
WC1E 6BT London
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EIDGENOESSISCHE TECHNISCHE HOCHSCHULE ZUERICH
Switzerland
EU contribution
€ 281 276,64
Address
Raemistrasse 101
8092 Zuerich
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
UNIVERSIDAD DEL PAIS VASCO/ EUSKAL HERRIKO UNIBERTSITATEA
Spain
EU contribution
€ 250 904,88
Address
Barrio Sarriena S N
48940 Leioa
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
UNIVERSITE DE STRASBOURG
France
EU contribution
€ 274 802,04
Address
Rue Blaise Pascal 4
67081 Strasbourg
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
ELVESYS
France
EU contribution
€ 506 857,10
Address
172 Rue De Charonne B2 2 Eme Etage
75011 Paris
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
CHERRY BIOTECH

Participation ended

France
EU contribution
€ 42 746,98
Address
2Eme Etage, Halls A-b Et C14 Rue De La Beaune
93100 Montreuil
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)

Partners (3)

METALLOPHARM LLC
United States
Address
1790 Riverstonedrive
OH 43015 Delaware
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
NANOVEX BIOTECHNOLOGIES SL
Spain
Address
Parque Tecnologico De Asturias
33428 Llanera
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
KUTXAGESTION ZERBITZUAK S.L.U.
Spain
Address
Mikeletegi 43
20009 Donostia - San Sebastian
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)