Our collaborative research is focused around the concept of autocatalytic sets. An autocatalytic set is a chemical reaction network in which the molecules mutually catalyze each other’s formation from a basic “food” source. In other words, an autocatalytic set is a catalytically (i.e., functionally) closed and self-sustaining reaction network.

Autocatalytic sets are believed to be an underlying principle in the (chemical) organization of life, and are thus also believed to have played an important role in its origin. For a general and non-technical introduction, see the recent popular science article that was published in the online magazine of the Evolution Institute.

Our work can roughly be divided into three main lines of research:

  1. Theoretical and computational aspects of autocatalytic sets.
  2. Experimental studies on the emergence and evolution of autocatalytic sets.
  3. Closing the gap between theory and experiment.