Xiaolei Liu

Xiaolei Liu Research Scientist xlliu@mit.edu 617 253 7866 E25-637
Bio and Interests
Under the general topic of origins of life my research interest is to understand the divergence of Archaea from the other two life domains. Apart from gene-based differences, it has been known that Archaea synthesize 2,3-alkyl-sn-glycerol ether lipids but Bacteria and Eukaryota produce only 1,2-alkyl-sn-glycerol ethers. Glycerol ether lipids are widespread in various modern environments and also commonly occur as molecular fossils in geological records. But, most of them are still detected as orphan lipids without identified source organism. To analyze the stereochemistry of these orphan glycerol ethers in both present and ancient samples will provide important clues of their biological source and the evolution of three life domains.
Affiliated Faculty