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The last half century of medical research has placed chemical structures behind much of biology, including human disease, the human genome, and the origin of life. Scientists at the Foundation have contributed broadly to these activities through innovative and polydisciplinary research in fields as diverse as chemistry, informatics, biology, geology, and astronomy. We are now taking the next steps, to place biological chemistry within its larger "systems" context, from the cell to the organism, and from there to the ecosystem and the planet. Emerging from this are new tools for systems biology and personalized medicine, as well as answers to some "big" questions: Where did we come from? What is our future? Are we alone?

Latest News and Events

January 18, 2018. Steven Benner, Distinguished Fellow at the FfAME, will discuss alternative approaches to financing research seeking to understand the origins of life. The discussion will be held in the evening at the Gordon Research Conference on "origins" in Galveston, Texas. He will discuss philanthropic support, including from the John Templeton, Simons, and private foundations, as well as spinning off discoveries in this basic research field into diagnostics and medicine. More information can be found here.

December 16, 2017. Steven Benner, Distinguished Fellow and Director of the FfAME, will deliver the 2017 Commencement Address at Ashland University, on December 16. With an "accent on the individual", Ashland University is a private university that shapes graduates who work, serve and lead with integrity in their communities. Ashland is known for supporting free, open and critical inquiry for both students and faculty necessary for intellectual and professional development.

December 6, 2017. On December 6, Steven Benner will engage in a public conversation on the topic "What is life?" on the stage of Caveat, 21 A Clinton Street, Manhattan, New York. There, he will be joined by the noted science journalist Carl Zimmer, following discussion with Jeremy England, the physicist from MIT. Zimmer is a columnist for The New York Times, where his column "Matter" appears each week. In 2016, Zimmer won the Stephen Jay Gould Prize, awarded annually by the Society for the Study of Evolution to recognize individuals whose sustained efforts have advanced public understanding of evolutionary science. This program is a collaboration between The Story Collider and Caveat, and is supported by Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation initiative dedicated to engaging everyone with the process of science. Doors open at 6:30 PM, with a discussion beginning at seven. Tickets are $20. More information can be found here.

November 22, 2017. Steven Benner was awarded on November 15 the BBRC Prize for his work creating artificial Darwinian systems. He received the prize and gave a lecture on this topic on November 15 in Shanghai, China.

November 11, 2017. Steven Benner will present a historical overview of synthesis in chemistry based on classic work by Robert Burns Woodward, the noted 20th-century organic chemist and Nobel Laureate whose birthday centennial is being celebrated this year. Joined by Pat Confalone, who heads the American Chemical Society, and other former Woodward group members, he will discuss how synthesis as an experimental research strategy leads to discovery and paradigm change, extending to areas that Woodward did not address in his own career. This in particular includes using synthesis to create molecular systems that reproduce properties that we value in biology, but on different molecular platforms. The meeting will be held in Charlotte at the Southeast Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society.

November 9, 2017. Prof. Benner, Distinguished Fellow at the FfAME, will give a keynote address at the Southeast Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Charlotte. He will present recent work at FfAME in the area of synthetic biology.

October 20, 2017. Steven Benner will share the stage with three noted educators at the October meeting of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) in Washington DC. The panel will discuss the role of freedom of expression in the academy and its role in the discovery of new knowledge. His colleagues on stage include Philip Hamburger, Professor of Law at Columbia, Walter Kimbrough, President of Dilliard University, and Allison Stanger, Professor of Political Science at Middlebury. Prof. Benner has been active in this field now for 40 years.

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