Jason Dworkin began research into the origins of life at the University of Houston, where he studied amino acids and co-enzymes. He received an A.B. in Biochemistry from Occidental College in 1991 and completed his Ph.D. in biochemistry at the University of California, San Diego in 1997, where he investigated pre-RNA nucleobases. He then carried out postdoctoral research at NASA Ames/SETI Institute on astrophysical ices until 2002 when he founded the Astrobiology Analytical research group at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center to study extraterrestrial organics. He is currently Chief of the Astrochemistry Branch at NASA Goddard and Project Scientist for the OSIRIS-REx mission.
The nature of the origin of life is a topic that has engaged people since ancient times. The samples to be collected by OSIRIS-REx, returned to the Earth in 2023 and archived for decades beyond that, may indeed hide the secrets to the origin of life.