DCO Workshop on Extreme Biophysics Report

On the weekend of 14 – 15 November 2015, members of the Deep Carbon Observatory’s Deep Life and Extreme Physics and Chemistry Communities, as well as researchers previously unaffiliated with DCO, collaborated on a workshop designed to jumpstart a new DCO initiative in "Extreme Biophysics".

On the weekend of 14 – 15 November 2015, members of the Deep Carbon Observatory’s Deep Life and Extreme Physics and Chemistry Communities, as well as researchers previously unaffiliated with DCO, collaborated on a workshop designed to jumpstart a new DCO initiative in "Extreme Biophysics".

The Deep Carbon Observatory workshop, Extreme Biophysics: Molecular Adaptation to Life at the Extremes took place at the Geophysical Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, in Washington, D.C. The workshop brought together 25 members of the DCO science network and an equal number of newcomers to DCO, who hailed from the USA, France, Germany, Canada, Belgium, the UK, and Italy. These diverse community experts shared information about the state of knowledge in their fields and identified collaborative projects to pursue.

The workshop began with a brief introduction by DCO Co-Executive Director Russell Hemley (Carnegie Institution of Washington, USA) and workshop Organizing Committee member Roland Winter (University of Dortmund, Germany). The major goals of the workshop included:

1. Articulate 2-3 highly significant questions about the biophysics underlying life in and adaption to extreme environments

2. Identify 3-5 tractable systems amenable to biophysical research AND that involve fundamental physiological functions key to growth, adaptation or survival in extreme conditions

3. Outline a strategy to move forward with organized research programs in one or more of the identified areas

Each day of the workshop contained a morning and afternoon session. On Saturday, the morning session focused on Microbes and Molecules Under Extremes and the afternoon session addressed Experimental and Theoretical Tools in Extreme Biophysics. Both sessions were composed of presentations from workshop participants, and a discussion period and poster session followed the afternoon talks. On Sunday, the morning session contained presentations about the Deep Life and Extreme Physics and Chemistry Communities. The Sunday afternoon session shifted the focus from presentations to discussion, and breakout groups brainstormed about High Pressure Biophysics in vivo and Molecular and Microbial Targets from Extremophiles. After the breakout groups, all participants reconvened for a plenary discussion, titled Topics of Mutual Interest and a Framework for Future Scientific Synergies.

Workshop participants at the Saturday afternoon poster session.

Workshop participants identified four major areas to target for future extreme biophysics research: membranes, piezolytes, genome function, and bioenergetics. This research will be aided by an innovative new instrument that allows for  sampling and growing cultures from the deep ocean without decompression – the PUSH50. Karyn Rogers (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA) presented the PUSH50, or Pressurized Underwater Sample Handler (50 ml). This new tool evolved under the guidance of Isabelle Daniel (Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, France) and Rogers following the DCO Bioreactor Sandpit Workshop in 2013, and is now being tested for DCO community use at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and at the Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1. In addition to the PUSH50, workshop Organizing Committee Chair Cathy Royer (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA) presented a high-pressure, high-resolution microscope system under development in her laboratory.                  

Karyn Rogers and Philippe Oger with the PUSH50.

The workshop organizers are preparing a white paper summarizing the outcomes from the workshop. All workshop participants will have an opportunity to comment on the white paper, and the organizers will incorporate this community input, in order to facilitate research in this exciting new development in DCO science.

Workshop Agenda

Extreme Biophysics White Paper

 

Group photo on the Geophysical Laboratory campus. Image credit Jennifer Mays

 

Organizing Committee:

Catherine Royer, Chair (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA)
Douglas Bartlett (Scripps Institution of Oceanography, USA)
Roland Winter (University of Dortmund, Germany)
Toshiko Ichiye (Georgetown University, USA)
 

Participant list:

Abram Aertsen (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium)
Ali Akbari (McGill University, Canada)
Bini (Università di Firenze, Italy)
Anais Bourges (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA)
Grayson Boyer (Arizona State University, USA)
Alfredo Caro (University of Pennsylvania, USA)
Tigran Chalikian (University of Toronto, Canada)
Isabelle Daniel (Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, France)
Lorna Dougan (University of Leeds, UK)
Dionysis Foustoukos (Carnegie Institution of Washington, USA)
Peter Fox (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA)
Angel Garcia (Los Alamos National Laboratory, USA)
Bertrand Garcia-Moreno E. (Johns Hopkins University, USA)
Donato Giovanelli (Rutgers University, USA)
Sol Gruner (Cornell University, USA)
Jihua Hao (Johns Hopkins University/Carnegie Institution of Washington, USA)
Rachael Hazael (University College London, UK)
Robert Hazen (Carnegie Institution of Washington, USA)
Russell Hemley (Carnegie Institution of Washington, USA)
Michelle Hoon-Starr (Carnegie Institution of Washington, USA)
Qi Huang (Georgetown University, USA)
Fang Huang (Johns Hopkins University/Carnegie Institution of Washington, USA)
Stefan Kast (Technische Universität Dortmund, Germany)
Dennis Klug (National Research Council of Canada)
George Makhatadze (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA)
Andrea Mangum (Carnegie Institution of Washington, USA)
Jennifer Mays (Carnegie Institution of Washington, USA)
Paul McMillan (University College London, UK)
Philippe Oger (École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, France)
Peter Olmsted (Georgetown University, USA)
Emanuele Paci (University of Leeds, UK)
Ileana Perez-Rodriguez (University of Southern California, USA)
Aude Picard (Harvard University, USA)
Frank Robb (University of Maryland, USA)
Julien Roche (National Institutes of Health, USA)
Jocelyn Rodgers (Georgetown University/Carnegie Institution of Washington, USA)
Karyn Rogers (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA)
Craig Schiffries (Carnegie Institution of Washington, USA)
Anurag Sharma (Suffolk University, USA)
Everett Shock (Arizona State University, USA)
Mitchell Sogin (Marine Biological Laboratory, USA)
Dario Spigolon (University of Maryland, USA)
Dimitri Sverjensky (Johns Hopkins University/Carnegie Institution of Washington, USA)
Dave Thirumalai (University of Maryland, USA)
Oscar Torres (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium)
Kelly Tran (Georgetown University, USA)
Joshua Wand (University of Pennsylvania, USA)
Michael Wilkins (Ohio State University, USA)

 

Further Reading

DCO Highlights Open Access Thematic Set of Lecture Notes Complements Lake Como PhD School on “Carbon forms, paths, and processes in the Earth”

A thematic set of six papers celebrates the science presented at the PhD School of Milano Bicocca…

DCO Highlights Janet Watson Meeting 2019 - Atmosphere to Core: Deep Carbon

The Geological Society of London’s 2019 Janet Watson meeting brought together 30 early career…

DCO Highlights Deep Energy Community Convenes in France for Final Meeting

Deep Energy (DE) community Chair Isabelle Daniel (Université Lyon1, France) and co-chair Edward…

DCO Highlights DCO Deep Life Community Launches New International Center

On 30 October 2018 the new International Center for Deep Life Investigation held its inaugural…

Back to top