Lena Vincent

Lena Vincent
330 North Orchard Street
Madison WI 53715
Room 3235E-1
Preferred pronouns: she/her/hers
The origins of self-propagation and evolution in non-living chemical reaction networks.

Years at WID

2017 - present


  • 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.

Selected Publications

  • Quintero, D., Carrafa, J., Vincent, L., & Bermudes, D. (2016). EGFR‐targeted Chimeras of Pseudomonas ToxA released into the extracellular milieu by attenuated Salmonella selectively kill tumor cells. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 113(12), 2698-2711.
  • Quintero, D., Carrafa, J., Vincent, L., Kim, H. J., Wohlschlegel, J., & Bermudes, D. (2018). Co-expression of a chimeric protease inhibitor secreted by a tumor-targeted Salmonella protects therapeutic proteins from proteolytic degradation. Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology.