The California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Postdoctoral Scholars Program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) invites applications for a postdoctoral research position in JPL’s Planetary Ices Group. Dr. Laurie Barge will serve as JPL postdoctoral advisor to the selected candidate. The appointee will carry out research in collaboration with the JPL advisor, resulting in publications in the open literature. The “Becoming Biotic” project, funded by the NSF-NASA Ideas Lab for the Origins of Life, aims to provide the first direct examination of hypotheses regarding the emergence of metabolic pathways. The goal is to attempt to recapitulate ancient metabolic pathways by replacing protein enzymes with non-protein catalysts in early Earth conditions. The two-year project will consist of tasks conducted in a multi-institution effort between JPL, University of Southern California, and Oberlin College. Frequent communication and coordination will be required with the USC/Oberlin Co-I’s and their postdocs and students. The successful candidate will: 1. Identify a set of early Earth conditions under which we will test whether the cofactors can drive metabolic reactions. This will be done jointly with Co-I’s at USC and Oberlin. 2. Test individual cofactors for their ability to catalyze metabolic reactions in the absence of protein enzymes. This Task will also involve the development of synthesis procedures for organic and inorganic cofactors. 3. Measure the kinetics of cofactor-driven reactions for a set of ancient metabolic pathways under several early Earth conditions. 4. Recapitulate an ancient metabolic pathway under several early Earth conditions using cofactors without protein enzymes. Candidates should have a recent Ph.D. in chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, geochemistry or related fields. Most important is direct experience in protein cofactor chemistry outside of cellular environments, mineral synthesis, and anoxic chemical synthesis methods. Candidates should have experience working with analytical methods (particularly 1H liquid NMR) and working with hazardous chemicals (e.g. thioacetic acid, hydrogen sulfide).