SNSF Spark project funded! 1 year at UNIL to investigate on ancient biomolecules

The project I submitted to the SNSF under the “Spark rapid funding of unconventional ideas scheme (July 2019 call) got funded today! This grant will employ for me for 1 year, still at University of Lausanne, starting December 1st, 2019.

I will use advanced geochemical characterization (C and N speciation using synchrotron-based X-ray absorption spectroscopy) to test (1) whether remnants of ancient biomolecules can be identified in early animals from the ~505 million-year-old Burgess Shale, Canada, and if this is the case (2) whether different organisms and/or tissues preserve contrasting molecular signatures.

If these hypotheses are confirmed, the results of this project will form the basis of a larger research approach that will develop a database of biomolecular signatures for different tissue types across the animal tree of life and in different fossil localities, as a comparative framework for clarifying the affinities of enigmatic fossils.