Education: Utah State University, Ph.D. Physical Chemistry
Institution: Harvard University, Chemistry and Chemical Biology (laboratory of Alán Aspuru-Guzik)
SCOL Project: Prebiotic Atlas: Exhaustive Exploration of Prebiotic Chemical Space
Advances in the investigation of the origins of life are associated with answers to the question: ‘Who was first?’ For example, we discuss which evolved first: metabolism, pre-RNA, RNA or DNA worlds. It is unclear to what extent chemistry of biological systems can be used to reconstruct early chemistries. This consideration makes it equally important to know: ‘What was there at all?’
The goal of Dmitry Zubarev’s research is to answer the latter question by using theoretical and computational approaches of the material design field to create a prebiotic atlas — a vast collection of reaction networks that cover prebiotic chemical space.
Zubarev will survey chemistries along the few known routes that connect simple molecules to biochemical systems. This will help to identify new routes and continue expansion into uncharted territories of the prebiotic world. The prebiotic chemical maps assembled into an atlas will be made available to scientists and the general public via Web interface with built-in research and educational tools.