Date: October 30, 2023 (Monday)
Time: 5.30 – 6.30 PM (IST)
Venue: C V Raman Hall, IISER Tirupati Transit Campus
Title: Understanding the Emergence of RNA and DNA in terms of Structure-Function in the Context of Origins of Life Studies
Speaker: Prof. Ramanarayanan Krishnamurthy from the Scripps Research Institute, USA
Abstract: Nucleic acids, RNA and DNA, are central to life as we know it and are postulated to have played a key role in the origin of life on the early Earth. I will present results from our lab’s investigations on alternative structures and replication studies with chimeric sequences, which suggest that the extant nucleic acids RNA and DNA (1) are best considered as an emergent product of chemical evolution from a heterogeneous mixture and (2) could have appeared simultaneously instead of the widely considered RNA first and DNA later model. This, further, has led to discoveries which have challenged the canonical paradigm of nucleic acids in terms of its structure and function relationship.
Bio-sketch of the speaker: Ramanarayanan Krishnamurthy was born in Mylapore (famous for the Kapaleeswarar Temple) in Chennai, India. He received his B.Sc. in chemistry from Vivekananda College (University of Madras), M.Sc. in chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, and Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, Columbus working with Professor David Hart. Captivated by a lecture given by Professor Albert Eschenmoser on the Chemical Etiology of Nucleic Acid Structure, he pursued his postdoctoral work at the Swiss Federal Institute (ETH) Zürich with Professor Eschenmoser. Following a NASA−NSCORT fellowship with Professor Gustaf Arrhenius at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD, La Jolla, he re-joined Professor Eschenmoser at the Skaggs Institute of Chemical Biology at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), La Jolla, resulting in a 13-year research collaboration. He is currently a Professor of Chemistry at Scripps Research, applying synthetic organic chemistry to understand the prebiotic chemical roots of life’s biochemistry under early Earth scenarios.