Abstract: All the ingredients to form stars, planets and life are to be found in dense and cold interstellar clouds called pre-stellar cores. At these early stages of star formation, organic molecules thrive and dust grains grow thick icy mantles, where water and organics accumulate. Molecules are unique diagnostic tools for these regions.
Knowledge of the chemical and physical structure of pre-stellar cores is needed to provide the initial conditions in the process of star and planet formation. This talk will focus on astrochemical studies of the first steps towards the formation of stellar systems like our own. Theoretical work on the formation of protoplanetary disks will also be presented, showing how the physical structure of disks is crucially linked to astrochemical processes.