We explore the life-like chemistry that emerges from mixtures of prebiotically plausible molecules. In particular, we probe the metabolic-like chemistry of one of life’s most ancient cofactors, iron-sulfur clusters. The fact that life as we know it is completely reliant on metal ions likely reflects a primordial dependence on these natural catalysts. We also construct protocells, and investigate how the chemistry of iron-sulfur peptides could have helped sustain the existence of protocells. Students working with us have the opportunity to work with a wide variety of spectroscopic techniques, collaborate with scientists from disparate disciplines, and enjoy the challenge of trying to solve one of life’s greatest mysteries.