The 6 Seed Money Proposals for the Call 2021-2 will be presented in 10 min talks followed by 10 min discussions with the Selection Committee and interested guests.
Topic: Seed Monday Presentation Day, April 21, 2021, 13:00-15:00
Meeting ID: 637 6601 1387
In this project we target the sequence dependent susceptibility of RNA oligomers to the formation of base dimers when exposed to UV radiation by means of Next Generation Sequencing. In doing so, we exploit the tendency of reverse transcriptases used during library preparation to abort their function at these dimers, which leads to a lack of these sequences in the subsequent sequencing process. With sufficiently short oligomers (up to 6mers), any sequence can be sequenced with high enough redundancy that the reduction in sequence abundance caused by dimer damage can be converted to a sequence-dependent damage rate using a simple damage model. This method which has already been carried out for DNA could reveal whether certain sequence groups in RNA are particularly susceptible to the formation of dimer damage due to irradiation with UV photons which is assumed to be especially intense on the prebiotic earth. The resulting symmetry breaking in sequence space could have led to the formation of characteristic, particularly resistant sequence patterns, which could have played an important role in the evolution of ribozymes or the expression of the genetic code.
Volcanic lightening was considered to have played an important role in the synthesis of organic compounds required for assembling first life forms. An attempt to reconstruct these prebiotic processes led to chemical synthesis of several building blocks of life. Despite considerable progress made in the past few decades, transformation of small organic compounds into complex biomolecules is still being actively perused. However, the reverse role of early life forms in the evolution of carbon compounds has much less been addressed, although there is a high plausibility that the two developments were mutually dependent. In the proposed work we would like to investigate organic carbon transformation in the presence of plausible early life forms. Given the environmental conditions were conducive for Miller-Urey like synthesis to happen till 2.5Ga and the origin of metabolically active life forms dated at 3.8Ga, we hypothesize that protocells could have played a role in the evolution of complexity in organic compounds. In accordance with our assumption, all Archaean Eon microfossils were discovered in close proximity to volcanoes and covered in thick layers of organic carbon. δ13C of organic carbon suggests biological modification of organic carbon. Nevertheless, in-depth studies have never been conducted on the role of early life forms on the evolution of organic carbon complexity.
We would like to organize a one-week workshop on the Hubble tension problem, bringing together all Cluster members involved in projects aimed at precision measurements of the Hubble Constant (e.g., adH0cc, H0LiCOW, HOLISMOKES), in a MIAPP-program-like format consisting of general presentations and more project-specific “hands-on” problem-solving sessions. The proposed week coincides with the last week of long-term Cluster visitor Stéphane Blondin involved in the adH0cc project (host: Bruno Leibundgut). Depending on Covid-related restrictions the meeting would be postponed accordingly. The MIAPP facilities would provide an ideal setting for this workshop (the first scheduled MIAPP programme starts on July 5th).
"The detection of gamma quants plays a big role in modern astrophysics or material research or medical physics. X-ray astronomy and gamma-ray spectroscopy investigate gamma quants from the low keV to the multi GeV range for detection of more and more detailed maps of the universe.
In a fundamental study we aim for detection of gamma quants in the range from few keV to MeV using multiple staggered converter plates in combination with gaseous micropattern detectors. This design study is to develop gamma tracking with good position resolution on 20x20cm2 area at reasonable energy resolution and a detection efficiency above 10%."
The combination of the fundamental-physics experiment to search for the electric dipole moment of the neutron with the availability of a laboratory to develop space missions brought us to the interdisciplinary idea to measure Earth’s magnetic field in the mesosphere. Such a measurement was never done before and it would enable a variety of geological, geodetic, and navigation-relevant research; it would thus connect research of the cluster to various disciplines, with the full scope of potential applications and benefits not yet identified. We propose to use the Na vapor found in the mesosphere at 92 km altitude for atomic magnetometry. A laser mounted on a nanosatellite (CubeSat) operating on a 450-km orbit would excite the Na layer at a frequency of 260 kHz, with the information about the magnetic field encoded in the resulting fluorescence signal. Within the lifetime of a CubeSat mission, an unprecedented global map of Earth’s magnetic field could be established. The funding we apply for is intended for equipment to perform basic feasibility studies on Earth and aboard the International Space Station in 2022.
"The Large Enriched Germanium Experiment for Neutrinoless ββ Decay (LEGEND) is a proposed ton-scale 76Ge-based neutrinoless double-beta (0νββ) decay experiment with discovery potential at a half-life greater than 1028 years, probing the nature of the neutrino with unprecedented sensitivity . In LEGEND, liquid argon operated electronics and detectors are at the heart of the experiment and improving their performance and radiopurity is essential in order to achieve the physics goal of the LEGEND program. However, the development and characterization of such devices is challenging and requires dedicated cryogenic facilities. While LEGEND-200 will be commissioned in 2021, the ton scale LEGEND-1000 experiment is at a proposal stage and does not receive funding.
The goal of this ORIGINS seed proposal is to set up a facility at TUM suitable for the characterization of sensitive cryogenic electronics to be used in LEGEND-1000 and performing the first measurements with novel ASIC-based front-end electronics in liquid argon as well as enabling an expedited development and test program for the SiPM modules used in the liquid argon instrumentation. The challenges are 1) providing a large liquid Argon volume, 2) an inert gas atmosphere above the liquid argon volume, and 3) a clean working environment, all of which are necessary for our planned measurements. Such a facility will allow the involved groups from the ORIGINS Cluster to build on their expertise in low-background front-end electronics and low-background SiPM packaging, and provide pivotal experimental infrastructure at TUM to sustain future critical hardware developments."