Yearly Archives: 2013

“Centrality of RNA for Engineering Gene Expression” featured in Biotechnology Journal Editorial

Our review was recently featured in a Biotechnology Journal Editorial by Kristala Prather and Ali Khademhosseini – “Biomolecular Engineering – latest advances and applications.” In the editorial, Julius’s talk from the 2013 ICBE meeting – “A Family of Orthogonal Chimeric Antisense RNA Transcription Regulators” (based on Melissa’s NAR Paper) was highlighted along […]

Ray Wins Genentech Scheele Outstanding Junior Award

Ray Zhuang, a junior CBE major in the Lucks Lab has been chosen by Genentech to win the Scheele Outstanding Junior Award. The award “recognizes a student who excels in scholarship, leadership, and campus activities, and is given to a student who “upon graduation will be a positive reflection of […]

Julius Quoted in Popular Science

Julius was recently quoted in “What Are Genetically Recoded Organisms?” in Popular Science by Francie Diep. The article is a nice read about the Isaacs’ lab recent Science paper “Genomically Recoded Organisms Expand Biological Functions”. The paper describes the first complete milestone of the rEcoli project (see here for an […]

Sarai Wins Best Poster Award

Sarai won the Best Poster Award at the 4th annual CBE Graduate Research Symposium for her poster “Engineering Light Activated RNA Transcriptional Switches”. Students and faculty from all of the broad research areas covered by CBE vote on the best poster awards, reflecting Sarai’s great job in communicating her research […]

The Centrality of RNA for Engineering Gene Expression

Our review paper “The Centrality of RNA for Engineering Gene Expression” is out! The review covers the ethos of the lab, and has three main sections: an update of all the known natural and synthetic RNA-based regulatory mechanisms out there, an outline of computational RNA structure prediction tools and how they have […]

Julius Quoted in the Chronicle of Higher Education

Julius was quoted in the recent article “DARPA Courts Biotech Researchers” on the benefits of the DARPA YFA program getting junior faculty into the DARPA system. It is an interesting read about the role DARPA can play alongside more traditional funders like the NIH to continue to propel biotech research. See the […]

Julius Named NIH Director’s New Innovator

Julius has been named a New Innovator by the Director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins. The goal of the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award Program is to support exceptionally creative new investigators who propose highly innovative projects that have the potential for unusually high impact. The […]

Lucks Lab helps create first CSHL Synthetic Biology Course

Julius and Melissa have helped create the first Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) summer course on synthetic biology. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has hosted summer courses and conferences on important topics of biology for over 65 years. Notable past courses include Max Delbruck’s original phage course, which helped crystallize the […]

Rebecca Chew Joins the Group

Rebecca is our newest undergraduate in the lab, working with Sarai on engineering RNA switches. She is also part of Cornell’s 2013 iGem team which is off to a great start. Welcome Rebecca!

Julius named James C. and Rebecca Q. Morgan Sesquicentennial Fellow

Julius has been named a James C. and Rebecca Q. Morgan Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellow in honor of the generous gift of the Morgans for recruiting emerging “stars” to the Cornell Faculty as part of the Faculty Renewal Sesquicentennial Challenge ( More information at .

Our First Paper is Published!

Melissa’s paper has been published in Nucleic Acids Research! A modular strategy for engineering orthogonal chimeric RNA transcription regulators outlines our new approach to creating basic RNA transcriptional regulators that can be used to build genetic networks. The background of the approach can be found here, where we showed how RNA-based transcription attenuators […]

Sitara and Tim Win ELI Scholarships!

Sitara and Tim were awarded summer research funding as part of Cornell’s engineering learning initiatives (ELI) program. The ELI program enhances undergraduate learning by providing opportunities for students to engage in cooperative learning and undergraduate research. As part of this program, Sitara and Tim will be working with Sarai and Kyle on […]

Julius awarded ONR Young Investigator Award!

Julius has been named a 2013 Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award recipient. The ONR Young Investigator Program (YIP) seeks to identify and support academic scientists and engineers who show exceptional promise for doing creative research. The program aims to attract these rising stars to the Department of Navy’s […]

Ray wins Amgen Research Scholarship!

Ray has been awarded a prestigious Amgen Research Scholarship to perform research at UC Berkeley this summer. The Amgen scholars program provides support for the country’s best and brightest undergraduate researchers to expand their research experiences. It is a highly competitive process and a great honor. Good work Ray!

Julius Wins Sloan Research Fellowship!

Since 1955, the Sloan Research Fellowships have sought to stimulate fundamental research by early-career scientists and scholars of outstanding promise.  These two-year fellowships are awarded yearly to 126 researchers in 8 fields in recognition of distinguished performance and a unique potential to make substantial contributions to their field. Previous Sloan […]

Misha Baheti and Alex Settle join the group!

Misha and Alex are the two newest undergraduates in the group. Misha will be working with Melissa on engineering RNA circuitry, and Alex will be working with Kyle to dissect RNA structures in the cucumber mosaic virus genome as part of our Gates grant. Welcome to the lab!

Julius gave a talk at the 4th International Conference on Biomolecular Engineering

The 4th International Conference on Biomolecular Engineering just wrapped up. The entire conference (co-organized by Kristala Prather (MIT) and Ali Khademhosseini (Harvard)) was a fantastic combination of work on synthetic biology, metabolic engineering, protein engineering and the latest biomolecular engineering tools. Julius presented Melissa’s latest work on engineering larger families […]

The SHAPE-Seq protocol paper is online!

Current Protocols in Chemical Biology has just published our SHAPE-Seq protocol paper “SHAPE-Seq: High-Throughput RNA Structure Analysis”. The full text can be found here. This is the best place to start to get a sense of the background behind the technique, and a very detailed step-by-step protocol of all aspects of […]