UCL Division of Biosciences


UCL Centre for Life's Origins and Evolution

The UCL Centre for Life's Origins and Evolution (CLOE) is a world-class centre of excellence for research focussed on the understanding of the origins of life and animals and how they can help us to understand today's changing environment.


UCL has a long and illustrious history in exploring the origins of life. From Robert Grant (Darwin’s Professor) to Edwin Ray Lankester (first to formulate the notion of homology in evolutionary terms) to JZ Young (discovered the squid giant axon) UCL has been at the cutting edge of understanding the patterns and processes of life and evolution.

The Centre for Life’s Origin and Evolution (CLOE) was established in 2017 and is the latest incarnation of research excellence in this critical field at UCL.


UCL Centre for Life’s Origins and Evolution (CLOE)

Who is the Centre for Life's Origin and Evolution (CLOE)?

woman wearing safety glasses in a lab


Meet the people who make up the UCL Centre for Life's Origins and Evolution.


Research groups

CLOE's research groups aim to develop innovative research looking at the patterns, processes and origins of life and evolution.

illustration of Ray Lankester with animals

History of CLOE

Established in 2017, CLOE is just the latest representation of UCL's long and illustrious history in biological evolution. 


Upcoming Events 

Funnelback feed: https://cms-feed.ucl.ac.uk/s/search.json?collection=drupal-life-sciences...’s+Origins+and+Evolution%22Double click the feed URL above to edit


January-March 2024

October-December 2023

June - September 2023

March - May 2023

January - February 2023

CLOE Symposia

Summer Symposium 2021

Emily Josephs (Michigan State University) 'The evolutionary forces shaping gene expression variation'
Luis-Miguel Chevin (CNRS/CEFE Montpellier) 'Predicting experimental evolution in a randomly fluctuating environment'
Nancy Chen (University of Rochester) 'Tracking short-term evolution in a pedigreed wild population'

MediaCentral Widget Placeholderhttps://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Player/Dbjaa6ID

Autumn Symposium 2021

Talia Karasov (University of Utah) ‘Plant pathogen evolution and the maintenance of genetic diversity
Sandy Hetherington (University of Edinburgh) ‘The Evolution of plant development, insights from the Palaeozoic era

MediaCentral Widget Placeholderhttps://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Player/I7JgbBbF  

Winter Symposium 2021

Seán Jordan (Instituto Superior Técnico Lisbon) 'Lipid Vesicles: From Protocells to Biomorphs' 
Ravinder K. Kanda (Oxford Brookes University) 'Dynamics of HERV-K in the human genome'
Rafal Gutaker (Royal Botanic Gardens) 'The interplay of evolution, environment and culture during the spread of rice in Asia'

MediaCentral Widget Placeholderhttps://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Player/JA2F2Ib1

Spring Symposium 2021

Joana Xavier (University College London) 'Earth's first bioreactors: the origins of life meets bioengineering'
Laura Mascotti (University of Groningen) 'How the first enzymes worked: on the evolution of nucleotide-dependent enzymes at the origin of life'
Sergio Muuñoz-Gómez (Univresite Paris Saclay) 'Ínsights into the nature of the mitochondrial ancestor'

MediaCentral Widget Placeholderhttps://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Player/DH92g203





Research themes 


stidents_seaurchinpractical at UCL


CLOE staff teach on several undergraduate programs, including the Zoology and Biodiversity and Conservation pathways that are available for BSc and MSci degrees in Biological Sciences.

Sample 3 CLOE


UCL offers an MRes in Biosciences which provides students with the opportunity to undertake a major research project. Students can choose from one of twelve specialist areas including the Evolution and Origins of Life.

CLOE’s academic staff supervise doctoral students funded through several different avenues, notably the NERC London Doctoral Training Partnership and the BBSRC London Interdisciplinary Doctoral Programme.

More about CLOE