The general premise is that cells began organizing when a lipid membrane was formed that was hydrophobic on the outside, and hydrophilic on the inside (like every drop of oil in water). Many current examples do demonstrate features that are reminiscent of life, and so the study is to improve on these materials, in the hopes that eventually we figure out what happened to make them "spark" to life.
Here is an (accessible?) article on it:
One of the authors (Addy Pross) even wrote a book called What is Life - How Chemistry becomes Biology about this idea (https://www.amazon.de/What-Life-Chemistry-Becomes-Landmark/d... ). There's a review of the book at this link [PDF]: https://www.pagepress.org/journals/index.php/eb/article/view...
I can't fathom the odds of a sudden abiogenesis event. If that truly is the source, this can't have been the first cycle of the universe and we are almost certainly the only germline that exists.
It would have to be an undisturbed progression of natural reactions that culminate in what we know as life. It likewise seems very unlikely, but if that happens life is probably all over the universe and still looks a lot like us.