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Welcome to ISSOL website

ISSOL is the International Society for the Study of the Origin of Life – The International Astrobiology Society. The society has over 500 members representing over 20 countries in disciplines as varied as astronomy and molecular biology. The society’s supporting journal, Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres (OLEB), has been publishing work in the field since 1968 and is the longest established and most authoritative journal for Astrobiology and origins of life research. Jack W. Szostak and Ada Yonath were recipients of 2009 Nobel Prizes in Physiology or Medicine and Chemistry, respectively. The leadership of the organization strives to be inclusive of ethnicity and gender, having elected the first woman president for 2008–2011.


Aug 2014: Professor John Sutherland was awarded the 2014 Darwin Medal for his novel and convincing work on prebiotic chemistry, in particular his solution to the central problem of nucleoside synthesis. The Darwin Medal is awarded biennially (in even years) by The Royal Society for “work of acknowledged distinction in the broad area of biology in which Charles Darwin worked, notably in evolution, population biology, organismal biology and biological diversity.”

Message from the President

Dear ISSOL members,

I am happy to report that the conference in Nara, Origins 2014, was well attended and most satisfying scientifically. We will try to have soon the abstracts available on this site; you will also be able to follow the main communications at the conference through several subsequent issues of Origins of Life and Evolution of the Biosphere.

Please find here the list of new officers and councillors. Both councillors and members had to take some decisions during the conference, which are reported below. All members approved the new by-laws, which were kindly and skillfully prepared by Dave Deamer. They are a modernized version of the previous document.

As required by the by-laws, councillor also needed to approve the format of the next conference, and whether to continue the ISSOL association with Bioastronomy, and the site for the next conference. The first issue was decided rather quickly because Bioastronomy will shortly dissolve as a society. The International Astronomical Union periodically adjudicates upon proposal the formation of commissions, to coordinate activities of various astronomical sub-disciplines and these have a fixed duration. Commission 51 initiated “Bioastronomy: Search for Extraterrestrial Life” in 1982 (later just Bioastronomy) and will end before 2017.

The council, therefore, took a default decision in setting the next conference as ISSOL 2017. The possibility of partial association with other societies involved in origins of life studies was left open and will be discussed in the future. The next conference will be held in Alaska at the University of Alaska at Anchorage and will be the first to be held in the USA since ISSOL 1999 in S. Diego.

I hope to see you all there.

Sandra Pizzarello

ISSOL President


During the meeting  Origins 2014 held in Nara (Japan), several of our colleagues were distinguished with the ISSOL Awards:

Oparin MedalAndrew H. Knoll (Harvard University, USA).
Miller Research AwardMatthew Pasek (University of South Florida, USA).
ISSOL FellowsGeorge E. Fox (University of Houston, USA), Nicholas Hud (Georgia Institute of Technology, USA), Marie-Christine Maurel (Université Pierre et Marie Curie and Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France), Juli Pereto (University of Valencia, Spain).

Best Poster Awards

(1) Niraja Bapat and Sudha Rajamani (Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Maharashtra, India).
(2) Palash K. Sarker (Independent University, Bangladesh), Jun-ichi Takahashi (ILE, Osaka University, Suita, Japan), Koichi Matsuo (HiSOR, Hiroshima University, Higashi-Hiroshima, Japan) and Kensei Kobayashi (Yokohama National University, Yokohama, Japan).
(3) Frédéric Foucher and Frances Westall (Centre de Biophysique Moléculaire, Orléans, France).

ISSOL also awarded 11 Travel Grants for young scientists.