Simons Foundation

SF Presidential Lecture: Engineering Life One Molecule at a Time

Gerald D. Fischbach Auditorium/2-GDFA (160 5th Avenue)

Gerald D. Fischbach Auditorium/2-GDFA

160 5th Avenue


 AI in Climate Science: From Emulation to New Discoveries


Registration link:

Biological matter is the only matter that ostensibly exists for a purpose — life.  However, how can the laws of physics define life? Living systems operate far from thermodynamic equilibrium and thus resist definition by the laws of equilibrium thermodynamics. Therefore, the energetic rules that govern biological assembly, the evolution of complex structure and form and the processes that promote life are unknown.


In this Presidential Lecture, Michael Murrell will discuss his research into engineering life from synthetic components. He will discuss novel methodologies for orchestrating protein-protein interactions that build complex macromolecules de novo while measuring the energy consumed in the process. In doing so, he can develop an energy ‘landscape’ that describes the energetic costs of organization, complexity and behavior. With this information, we can revisit long-standing hypotheses on the energetic requirements for life and identify potential strategies for engineering materials with life-like capabilities.


About the Speaker:

Murrell runs the Laboratory for Living Matter within the Systems Biology Institute at the Yale West Campus as part of the biomedical engineering and physics departments. His laboratory studies the non-equilibrium properties of biological systems and designs and engineers novel bio-inspired materials. His group comprises a diverse group of experimentalists, computational scientists and theorists, all driven to understand some of the most fundamental questions surrounding the origin of life.


Doors open: 5:30 p.m. (No entrance before 5:30 p.m.)
Lecture: 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. (Admittance closes at 6:20 p.m.)