Graduate Student Day

Science of Early Life

Sunday 24th June 2018
School for Graduate Students: The RNA World in Theory and Practice


Researchers from McMaster Origins Institute will present a pedagogical introduction to the RNA World, suitable for graduate students from all disciplines. (Participants at all career stages are welcome).

8:00 Registrationdesk opens in MDCL Foyer
8:30 Breakfast in MDCL Foyer
9:00 Paul Higgs
What was the RNA World? Did it exist? How might it have worked?
10:00 Ralph Pudritz
What was Earth like at the time of the RNA World? What can Astrophysics tell us about the Origin of Life?
11:00 Break
11:20 Paul Harrison
How did life beat entropy?  The organic chemistry behind building molecular complexity and the origin of life.
12:20 Lunch
1:30 Maikel Rheinstadter
How could RNA have formed on prebiotic Earth? How might we show this in the lab?
2:30 Greg Slater
How do we detect biological molecules? How would we analyze samples from Origins Lab experiments, from meteorites or from Mars?
3:30 Afternoon of Ongoing Demonstrations from McMaster Graduate Students
  • How does X-ray scattering work?
  • What is the Planet Simulator?
  • Analysis with Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry
  • Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Nucleotides and Membranes
  • Simulations of Evolutionary Models
  • What could happen in a "warm little pond?"