Martin Hanczyc explores the path between living and nonliving systems, using chemical droplets to study behavior of the earliest cells.
Martin Hanczyc is developing novel synthetic chemical systems based on the properties of living systems, in a quest to understand how life forms. These synthetic systems, or "protocells," are model systems of primitive living cells and chemical examples of artificial life. As Rachel Armstrong puts it: "Although the protocell model system is just a chemically modified oil droplet, its dynamics are astonishingly varied and complex."
He's based at the Institute of Physics and Chemistry and the Center for Fundamental Living Technology (FLinT) in Denmark. He is also an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London.
"Martin Hanczyc of the University of Southern Denmark just spoke on his research on protocells. It was, trust me, an astonishing illumination"Tom Chatfield
“If we went to another planet and we thought there might be life there, how could we even recognize it as life?”
“Over the last hundred and fifty years or so, science has kind of blurred the distinction between non-living and living systems, and now we consider that there may be a kind of continuum that exists between the two.”