Investigating the origin and nature of life here and elsewhere ...
Research on our team, led by Sara Walker, is motivated to uncover the fundamental principles explaining life, including its origins. That is, we seek to identify whether there are laws of life - under the hypotheses such laws should ultimately have something to do with information. We look at life across all scales of biological organization from cells to civilizations, on Earth and beyond to answer:
What is life? We study collective behavior in a variety of living systems, from gene regulatory networks to ant colonies, to determine how information structures matter in living systems.
How did life get started? We are developing new theory for how life can emerge from non-living matter based on the idea that information plays a critical role in the transformation of matter to life.
Are we alone? We are working on new ways of thinking about the search for life on other worlds, building quantitative criteria for identifying life.