Dr. Maurer is interested in the abiogenesis from both the origins-of-life and artificial life perspectives. She builds model cells from amphiphiles, and examines possible life-like properties, such as metabolism or growth and division.
Her research has been funded through both NSF and NASA. For a full summary see the article in the CCSU Courier here.
She uses a variety of techniques, including fluorescence microscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, UV-Vis spectroscopy, ELISA, gas chromatography, and high pressure liquid chromatography. She is always looking for enthusiastic students to do research
Her current projects include:
- Changes in populations of model cells when put under environmental pressure. The goal of this work is to examine the ability of cells to survive in the absence of reproduction (prebiotic conditions). This project seeks to model the evolution of cellular containers available on early Earth.
- Artificial photosynthesis under prebiotic conditions generating reduced carbon and a proton gradient using transmembrane electron transport.
- Studying the behavior of biomolecules and their analogues in less polar solvents like decanol. This project is part of an NSF collaboration to better inform our search for life in the solar system and beyond.