Lena Vincent

Lena Vincent
330 North Orchard Street, Room 3135F-2
Madison WI 53715
Preferred pronouns: she/her/hers
Joined WID: 2017

The origins of self-propagation and evolution in non-living chemical reaction networks.


  • B.S., Molecular Cell Biology & Physiology, California State University-Long Beach
  • Certificate, Biotechnology, California State University-Long Beach
  • M.S., Biology, California State University-Northridge
  • Ph.D., Astrobiology & Prebiotic Chemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, x2022

Research Description

Lena Vincent is developing and deploying a novel empirical approach to study the physicochemical principles governing the onset of life-like behaviors in non-living chemical systems as part of a NASA-funded project to understand the origins of life. She uses an analog of experimental evolution to enrich for ensembles of simple molecules that can cooperate, grow, and respond to selection. The results of her work are expected to shed light on the conditions that yield spontaneously emerging, evolvable chemical systems on early Earth and in general, which is likely to have a bearing on the search for life elsewhere in the universe.