Predoctoral contract: "Study of water, its changes in state, aqueous interfaces and hydrothermal conditions under certain planetary conditions".


presence of water is considered a fundamental factor in the emergence
of life. Approximately 72% of the Earth is covered by water so the
water cycle and its corresponding changes in state and distribution,
as well as the gradients of temperature, pressure, pH and salinity
present in hydrothermal systems, may have played a very important
role in the origin of the first organic/biological molecules in
prebiotic conditions. On the other hand, the presence of oceans of
liquid water under the frozen surface of the frozen moons of the
solar system has increased interest in possible reactions leading to
the formation of organic compounds under hydrothermal conditions. In
addition, research into the processes which lead a planet or
satellite to develop biological systems and thus to modify its living
conditions can be explored from the point of view of prebiotic

the present PhD project, simulation experiments will be carried out
in the laboratory paying special attention to the role of water, its
changes of state, aqueous interfaces and hydrothermal conditions in
order to better understand the physical-chemical processes that take
place in the possible generation of complex organic chemistry under
certain planetary conditions. HCN will be considered as the main
reagent, given the high astrobiological interest of this molecule due
to its ubiquity and because it is considered as a key to understand
the origin of proto-metabolic and informational systems. Thus,
soluble salts such as NaCN, KCN or complex iron salts (ferrocyanides)
will be used as main sources of cyanide under conditions of
simulation of planetary aqueous environments. For the analysis and
characterization of the final products, we will use spectroscopic,
chromatographic and thermal analysis techniques among others (e.g.,
GC-MS, HPLC, FT-IR, NMR, TGA, DSC ...). We will study both simple
molecules (amino acids, nucleobases, carboxylic acids, cofactors,
sugars and derivatives ...) as well as oligomers/polymers (generally
known as HCN polymers) that can be obtained and their potential
catalytic, electrochemical and other properties that they may
present, given their possible interest in subsequent secondary
reactions that may lead to the development of a subsequent prebiotic

deadline for sending applications is December 31, 2020.

If any
questions, candidates can contact Dr. Marta Ruiz Bermejo

Project title:
“Study of water, its changes in state, aqueous interfaces and
hydrothermal conditions under certain planetary conditions".


CENTRO DE ASTROBIOLOGÍA (CAB), Torrejón de Ardoz, Madrid



Fecha: 2020-12-18


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