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MSRAL 2006 Convention

SLAS Regular Meeting
Friday, April 15, 2011
McDonnell Hall
Washington University

Some Like It Hot... and Toxic


Dr. Jan Amend
Washington University

Life emerged on Earth more than 3.5 billion years ago. Since then, microorganisms have evolved along with Earth, altering its air, oceans, and solid surface. Invisibly small creatures, bacteria and the more recently discovered Archaea - inhabit the most inhospitable environments on our planet: boiling hot springs, hot water vents on the bottom of the oceans, acid mines, salt ponds, arsenic-laden waters, and rocks buried thousands of feet underground. Dr. Amend will explain why we are so interested in these "extremophiles", what they can tell us about the conditions that support life, and what they tell us about the origin of life on Earth. A better understanding of the range of conditions that can support life on Earth can help us in the search for life on other worlds.

Jan Amend is an Associate Professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Washington University. His research work combines geochemistry, microbiology, and molecular biology to study the chemical connections between microorganisms and their natural environment. Professor Amend's field areas include the hydrothermal systems of the Aeolian Islands, north of Sicily; Italy; and Yellowstone National Park.

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