Julius Lucks


Our 11th Paper is Published with Trello!

Anyone that has spent any time with us knows how much we love Trello. If you haven’t heard of it, it is a lightweight team management tool that we use throughout the lab – from writing papers and grants, to managing lab orders and our lab safety system. We’ve even […]


Kyle Wins Austin Hooey Graduate Award

Kyle is the recipient of an Austin Hooey Graduate Award. The Hooey award is the highest honor that CBE bestows on graduate students, and recognizes those students who have demonstrated the highest research quality and productivity, and who have demonstrated a track record of service to their research group, department, and community. […]


Spats v1.0 is released!

Spats v1.0.0 is an update to the Spats pipeline for processing Next-Generation Sequencing Reads as part of SHAPE-Seq experiments. The major difference between v0.8.0 and v1.0.0 is the migration to the cutadapt utility for removing adapter sequences from the fastxtoolkit. This release still relies on fastx_revcomp, but the code is structured […]


Our methods paper on SHAPE-Seq v2.1 is out!

Kyle, Angela, Eric and Alex’s paper “Characterizing RNA structures in vitro and in vivo with selective 2′-hydroxyl acylation analyzed by primer extension sequencing (SHAPE-Seq)” is out in Methods! This is a very comprehensive manuscript, outlining the necessary background for understanding chemical probing of RNA structure – from the experiments that can […]


Our review on RNA Systems Biology is out!

Eric, Kyle and David’s review “RNA systems biology: uniting functional discoveries and structural tools to understand global roles of RNAs” is out in Current Opinion in Biotechnology! In this review, we outline the case that the time is right for a systems-level study of RNA structure and function – partly […]


Cameron’s review on engineered protein machines is out!

Cameron’s review “Engineered Protein Machines: Emergent Tools for Synthetic Biology” is out in the inaugural edition of Cell Chemical Biology! This is a great summary of recent work in synthetic biology to make ‘orthogonal’ versions of core cellular protein machines – from polymerases all the way to ribosomes. By acting […]


Julius joins Nucleic Acids Research Editorial Board!

Julius was recently invited to be a member of the Editorial Board of Nucleic Acids Research. Nucleic Acids Research is a preeminent journal featuring cutting edge research into the physical, chemical, biochemical and biological aspects of nucleic acids and the protein machinery that interacts with them in the cell. Its […]


Professor Venkat Gopalan Visits the Lab!

We were recently delighted to host Professor Venkat Gopalan from Ohio State University in the lab! Professor Gopalan studies RNase P, an ancient RNA that catalyzes a key reaction required for all life. It’s discovery by Sidney Altman earned him a Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1989 for the discovery that RNA molecules can […]


Sarai’s Paper Featured in B&B Spotlight!

Sarai’s paper was recently featured in a Biotechnology and Bioengineering spotlight Shining RNA STAR power on bacterial gene expression. Each issue of B&B features four spotlights highlighting the most exciting work in the journal. It’s quite an honor! Congratulations Sarai, James, Sitara and Rebecca!


Get our plasmids from the Lucks Lab AddGene Page!

The Lucks Lab now officially has an Addgene page! Addgene is a non-profit plasmid repository that promotes sharing of life sciences research materials through their distribution system. We have greatly benefited from easy access to the explosion of molecular tools out there which has really helped us accelerate our research! If […]


Lucks Lab helps ‘Build with Biology’

We recently helped out with a new public engagement activity called ‘Building with Biology’! Sponsored by the National Science Foundation and based at the Museum of Science in Boston, Building with Biology is a program designed to promote conversations between the public and scientists about synthetic biology. As part of […]


Our in-cell SHAPE-Seq paper is out!

Our method for characterizing the cellular structure and function of RNA regulators is out in Nucleic Acids Research. The paper outlines our method for applying SHAPE-Seq to characterize RNA structures within E. coli cells by directly applying the 1M7 SHAPE reagent to cell culture. Since we are very interested in […]


Kyle Becomes an Inaugural Fleming Fellow!

Kyle has been selected as an inaugural Fleming Graduate Scholar in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. The Fleming Scholarships are due to a generous gift from Sam and Nancy Fleming to support the most outstanding PhD students pursuing research in biomolecular engineering at Cornell. Congratulations Kyle!


Another Great Year at CSHL SynBio

  We had another fantastic year at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Synthetic Biology summer course! Led by James (universally voted a Rock STAR scientist by everyone at the course), we successfully delivered a thrilling module on characterizing genetic circuitry using cell-free TX-TL reactions. Actually I can’t thank James enough for all […]


A Renaissance in RNA Synthetic Biology

A renaissance in RNA synthetic biology: new mechanisms, applications and tools for the future is out in Current Opinion in Chemical Biology! James, Kyle and Melissa did a fantastic job making our case for why we think we are in a renaissance in RNA synthetic biology right now. In the review, […]


Improving STARs with Rational RNA Engineering Strategies

Our paper on improving Small Transcription Activating RNAs with Rational RNA Engineering Strategies is out in Biotechnology and Bioengineering! In this paper, Sarai, James, Sitara and Rebecca outline several different strategies for improving the fold activation of weak STARs, including promoter tuning and RNA stabilization strategies. We hope this helps […]


Our RNA Circuitry Modeling Paper is Out!

Our paper on Generating effective models and parameters for RNA genetic circuits is out in ACS Synthetic Biology. In this paper, Chelsea developed a simplified ODE model to model the dynamics of RNA genetic circuits. These ‘effective’ models essentially course grain a lot of the biochemical details of gene expression […]


Our TX-TL Methods Paper is Out!

We were recently invited to prepare a paper for the journal Methods about using cell-free transcription-translation reactions (TX-TL) to characterize genetic circuits. We immediately joined forces with Vincent Noireaux’s and Richard Murray’s groups and had a lot of fun putting this together! What started out as a brief intro to the […]


Congratulations to our Graduates!

Congratulations Rebecca, Melissa, Misha, Tim, Ray and Sitara (not pictured)! Melissa is our first Dr. from the group, and will be joining Jim Collin’s lab at MIT in the Fall as a post-doctoral researcher. Also staying on the East Coast, Misha will be headed to join a consulting firm in […]


Melissa wins Austin Hooey Graduate Award

  Melissa is the recipient of an Austin Hooey Graduate Award. The Hooey award is the highest honor that CBE bestows on graduate students, and recognizes those students who have demonstrated the highest research quality and productivity, and who have demonstrated a track record of service to their research group, department, and […]


Lucks Lab Featured on NSF MCB Blog!

The Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB) at the National Science Foundation (NSF) recently launched a blog to keep people up to date on the exciting science that they are funding. Today’s post actually featured the Lucks Lab, and talked about some of our exciting breakthroughs and outreach activities we […]


STARs Featured in Nature Methods

STARs are featured in the April issue of Nature Methods! In her Research Highlights article “RNA that activates transcription”, Nicole Rusk describes some of the behind the scenes of how we created STARs. She also does a great job of capturing the spirit and the mission of the Lucks Lab!


Cameron and Tim Win NSF Graduate Fellowships!

  Cameron and Tim have been awarded the prestigious NSF Graduate Fellowship. The NSF graduate fellowship recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in science and engineering, and is one of the most highly sought after awards at this stage of their careers. NSF fellows have gone on to become recognized leaders in their […]


Eric Strobel joins the group!

Eric Strobel is the newest addition to the group! Eric comes to us from Jeff Robert’s lab at Cornell and is an expert on transcriptional pausing. For a bit of history, the Robert’s lab did pioneering work on deciphering the mechanism of intrinsic termination, making Eric’s addition to the group […]


STARs are born in Nature Chemical Biology!

James and Melissa’s Nature Chemical Biology paper on “Creating Small Transcription Activating RNAs” (STARs) is out! As we all know, RNA is an awesome molecule that does many things across the cell. It is particularly good at regulating gene expression. However, we noticed recently that of all the things RNA does […]


Julius wins NSF CAREER award

Julius is the recipient of a 2015 CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation. According to the NSF, “the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through […]


SHAPE-Seq turns 100!

According to Google Scholar, the original SHAPE-Seq experiment paper in PNAS has over 100 citations! For those unfamiliar with it, SHAPE-Seq uses chemical probing and next generation sequencing to characterize RNA structures in very high throughput and with nucleotide resolution. It is built off of the powerful SHAPE chemistry developed by […]