Pier Luigi Luisi Synthetic Biology Lab
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Luisi Lab Research Summary

The two main current projects – the Never Born Proteins and the Minimal Cell – can generally be ascribed to the domain of Synthetic Biology.

In addition, supporting research themes on the biophysics of surfactant aggregates form an integer part of the group’s activity.

Professor Luigi talking about his research:
Pier Luigi Luisi - Univ. São Paolo, Brazil; June 7th, 2007;
"Science Facing the Origin of Life. Experimental and Philosophical Problems"
watch the video
(Realized by IAE-USP, Brazil)

Historically, there have been two main research areas in the group: one is the self-assembly and self-organization of macromolecular surfactant aggregates (in particular lipids) and the relevance of these assemblies - micelles, vesicles and liposomes - as models for biological membranes and cells, while the other focuses on polypeptides and the question as to the origin of their structural order, in particular the origin of their homochirality and of their primary sequences and folding.

origin of life

A realistic scenario of the emergence of life can be based on a gradual transition from random mixtures of simple organic molecules to spatially ordered assemblies displaying primitive forms of cellular compartmentalization, self-reproduction and catalysis.

Both research themes belong to the more general research area of the origin of life in the sense that they ask basic questions about the origin of ordered molecular complexity and specificity.

Together with these research lines on basic science, the group also studies the biomedical application of liposomes as vectors for drug delivery. The present lines of research result as a development of previous research interest as can be seen by clicking historical development, which provides a description of the group up to about 1990.



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