Sijbren Otto

Titels Prof. dr.
Initials S.
Main position Hoogleraar RUG
Disciplines Catalysis
  Organic chemistry
Chair Systeem Chemie
Domain Natural Sciences and Engineering
Membership Member
Since 2020
Member of Natural Sciences and Engineering
Employed by Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
Stratingh Instituut voor Scheikunde
Nijenborgh 4
9747 AG Groningen
tel.  050 363 8639
Personal website

Sijbren Otto is a pioneer of systems chemistry, a new discipline that studies networks of interacting molecules and their properties. He is searching for the chemical origins of life. For example, he succeeded in using ‘dead’ molecules produced in the lab to build self-replicating systems capable of undergoing a small-scale Darwinian evolution. During replication, mutations occur, and the environment determines which mutation wins the battle for a common resource. Otto and his group have also shown how self-replicating molecules alter material from their environment to make it a suitable medium for growth and further replication, the first step towards metabolism.