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Associate to the Dean, Professor
Chemistry & Biochemistry
Nicolaus Copernicus Hall

Dr. Maurer is interested in the abiogenesis from both the origins-of-life and synthetic biology perspectives. She builds model cells from amphiphiles, and examines possible life-like properties, such as metabolism or growth and division.

She uses a variety of techniques, including fluorescence microscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, UV-Vis spectroscopy, ELISA, gas chromatography, and high pressure liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. She is always looking for enthusiastic students to do research 

Her current projects include:

  • Determination of membrane fitness landscapes and applying high throughput methods to understand and predict environmental and functional membrane fitness
  • Changes in mixtures of prebiotic chemicals when put under environmental pressure. She is specifically interested in the loss of molecular diversity and an increase in function through environmental selection.
  • Electron transport across membranes in prebiotic systems to understand the limitations and opportunities that membranes impart when part of a gradient metabolism.
  • Development of archaeal liposomes to understand the role of membrane composition of measured functions.
Chemistry and Biochemistry
University of California, Santa Cruz
Awards & Grants

Her research has been funded through both NSF and NASA. Her current external grants include:

  • NSF. MFB: Accelerating the Discovery of Novel Liposome Formations with Origins-of-Life Insights, Laboratory Automation, and Machine Learning
  • Heising-Simons Foundation. Enceladus Plume Chemistry: From Lab to Telescope