New approaches from Systems Chemistry hold an enormous potential to illuminate the problem of the origins of life. One major contribution should be the provision of theoretical tools for analysis of multi-component systems in heterogenous conditions, in which self-organizing reaction patterns in aqueous solution and self-assembling lipid boundaries come together. We consider that this is a key issue for all 'bottom-up' approaches to the origins of biological order, which always require the interplay between various types of dynamical constraints harnessing -- or rather, channelling -- complex reaction networks. Present difficulties to understand and deal with this kind of complex (multi-component, heterogenous) systems will surely be addressed with the new experimental methods coming out of the field (DCC, microfluidics, etc.), but will also call for theoretical models and simulations that help in the interpretation of empirical data. I have been engaged for some years now in an effort precisely to bridge the gap between 'in-vitro' and 'in-silico' strategies for the study of chemical reactions in lipid compartments, from vesicles to more complex protocells, and I will give an overview of the state of the art in that area of research, and describe some of our own results.
Everybody interested is welcome to join.
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