BIOTA Institute Director and Chief Scientist and member of the Biomolecular Engineering Department at UC Santa Cruz, Dr Bruce Damer, has spent his life pursuing two great questions: how did life on Earth begin, and how can we give that life (and humanity) a sustainable pathway into the cosmos? A decade of laboratory and field research with his collaborator Prof. David Deamer at the UC Santa Cruz Department of Biomolecular Engineering resulted in the Hot Spring Hypothesis for an Origin of Life
published in the journal Astrobiology
in 2019. In 2021 with growing global collaboration and experimental successes around the hypothesis, he formed BIOTA with the mission of raising grants for students and young scientists to test the scenario and explore its implications for humanity.
Dr Damer also has a long career working with NASA on mission simulation and design and recently co-developed a spacecraft to utilize resources from asteroids. He is an avid collector of vintage computing hardware in his DigiBarn Computer Museum and enjoys a fine life with his partner Kathryn Lukas, three cats and one adorable chihuahua in their Gandalf-inspired house high up in the Santa Cruz redwoods.
Research foci: The Hot Spring Hypothesis for an Origin of Life
proposed with Prof. David Deamer, spacecraft and mission design, the history and future of computing.