Rutgers scientists identify substance that may have sparked life on earth
Caption: A computer rendering of the Nickelback peptide shows the backbone nitrogen atoms (blue) that bond two critical nickel atoms (orange). Scientists who have identified this part of a protein believe it may provide clues to detecting planets on the verge of producing life.
The research, published in Science Advances, has important implications in the search for extraterrestrial life because it gives researchers a new clue to look for, said Vikas Nanda, an ENIGMA team CoI and researcher at the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine (CABM) at Rutgers. Read the complete article at AAAS/EurekAlert.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) “Profile of Paul G. Falkowski”. Read the complete article in PNAS.
Delighted to announce that our very own Nolan Fehon has been awarded the 2022 undergraduate Cook Community Leadership Award. During his time at Rutgers Nolan has made sustainability, climate change and environmental activism his passion and his mission. Nolan also regularly wrote a Climate column for the Daily Targum to share his experiences with Rutgers students and inspire others to pick up the mantle. Read more at SEBS Newsroom.
In the Falkowski Lab, Fehon is observing a dense culture of phytoplankton grown for his experiments.
Colloquium Report: Microbes and Climate Change – Science, People & Impacts
Paul Falkowski participated in the American Academy of Microbiology Virtual Colloquium held on November 5, 2021. The report was recently published April 22, 2022.
- Colloquium Report: Microbes and Climate Change – Science, People & Impacts (PDF)
“Corals Carefully Organize Proteins to Form Rock-Hard Skeletons” – Scientists’ findings suggest corals will withstand climate change. Read the complete article in Rutgers Today
“Scientists Discover Key Factors in How Some Algae Harness Solar Energy” – Rutgers-led research could help lead to more efficient and affordable algal biofuels. Read the complete article in Rutgers Today
“Rutgers Researchers Identify the Origins of Metabolism” – Scientists insert synthesized, primordial protein into living cells. Read the complete article on SEBS/NJAES Newsroom.
“Minimal hetereochiral de novo designed 4Fe-4S binding peptide capable of robust electron transfer” paper has been featured in: Forbes (link), Science Daily (link), Astrobiology Magazine (link)
“Life on Mars? Rutgers professor breaks down NASA’s most recent discovery”
A Martian dust storm is currently silencing NASA’s Opportunity rover. But NASA’s rovers have already found evidence on the Red Planet of ancient organic material, methane and a bacteria that can turn light into fuel and release oxygen. Could it one day help humans colonize Mars? That’s what an international team of scientists is suggesting. Rutgers scientist Professor Paul Falkowski shared some of his insights with Correspondent Leah Mishkin.
Distinguished Professor Paul Falkowski Awarded the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement
The 2018 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement – often described as the ‘Nobel Prize for the Environment’ – has been awarded to Paul Falkowski and James J. McCarthy, for their decades of leadership in understanding – and communicating – the impacts of climate change. Paul Falkowski, one of the world’s greatest pioneers in the `eld of biological oceanography, is a Rutgers distinguished professor in the departments of Earth and Planetary Sciences and Marine and Coastal Sciences and is the founding director of the Rutgers Energy Institute. James J. McCarthy is from the Department of Biological Oceanography at Harvard University. Read the complete article at SEBS/NJAES NEWSROOM, and learn more at RU EOAS, and TylerPrize.org.
“Legos of Life”
Rutgers scientists have found the “Legos of life” – four core chemical structures that can be stacked together to build the myriad proteins inside every organism – after smashing and dissecting nearly 10,000 proteins to understand their component parts.
The four building blocks make energy available for humans and all other living organisms, according to a study published online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The study’s findings could lead to applications of these stackable, organic building blocks for biomedical engineering and therapeutic proteins and the development of safer, more efficient industrial and energy catalysts – proteins and enzymes that, like tireless robots, can repeatedly carry out chemical reactions and transfer energy to perform tasks.
“Understanding these parts and how they are connected to each other within the existing proteins could help us understand how to design new catalysts that could potentially split water, fix nitrogen or do other things that are really important for society,” said Paul G. Falkowski, study co-author and a distinguished professor who leads the Environmental Biophysics and Molecular Ecology Program at Rutgers University–New Brunswick.
- Read more…
- PNAS Article on “Modular origins of biological electron transfer chains”
- NJTV News – Rutgers scientists discover ‘legos of life’
Goldschmidt 2017 Conference Plenary by Dr. Paul G. Falkowski:
“How Corals Make Rocks”
Science and New York Times article and video highlighting current research showing precipitation of calcium in corals even in low pH ocean waters: