Khalid Alam


“Computational design of STARs for versatile and dynamic gene regulation” now published in Nature Communications!

  Research led by a former Lucks Lab postdoc, Dr. James Chappell (now an Assistant Professor in BioSciences at Rice University), was recently published in Nature Communications. The research article “Computational design of small transcription activating RNAs for versatile and dynamic gene regulation” describes the lab’s latest work on a […]


Dr. Molly Evans joins the lab!

Dr. Molly Evans, Ph.D., has joined the lab as a postdoctoral fellow! Molly comes to us from the opposite side of Chicago, where she recently defended her Ph.D. dissertation, “Expanding high-throughput sequencing to investigate RNA biology,” in the lab of Dr. Tao Pan (University of Chicago, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics). […]


Our first lab manager, Andrea Thompson, joins the lab!

The Lucks Lab recently hired our first lab manager, Andrea Thompson! Andrea officially joins our lab as a research technologist, where she’ll be responsible for management and oversight of several of our critical lab processes. Andrea joins us after stints at one of Chicago’s landmark institutions, The Field Museum of […]


Angela Yu wins best talk award at the Rustbelt RNA Meeting!

Several members of the Lucks Lab RNA structure team recently travelled to Indianapolis, Indiana for the 2017 Rustbelt RNA Meeting (RRM). RRM is described as a “regional scientific meeting that gathers scientists from throughout the Midwestern and Mid-Atlantic United States to discuss RNA-related biomedical research.” RRM places a large focus […]


Lucks Lab members win prestigious fellowships!

Congratulations to one of our postdocs, Dr. Eric Strobel, and two of our newest graduate students, Luyi Cheng and Adam Silverman, on securing fellowships! Eric is one of 20 recipients of the Arnold O. Beckman Postdoctoral Fellowship for 2017 through the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation. These fellowships are awarded to postdocs “with […]


Julius is interviewed on the GeneMods podcast!

GeneMods, Northwestern University’s Synthetic Biology club, have been producing an informative and entertaining podcast that covers the latest in synthetic biology news. For their most recent episode, “Hello, RNA World!,” they interviewed Julius Lucks to discuss the features of RNA that make it such a fascinating and engineerable molecule. Listen to the podcast on Soundcloud or on iTunes. […]


Julius is quoted in IEEE Spectrum on “ribocomputing”

A new paper in Nature by Alexander Green et al. on “Cellular logic computation using ribocomputing devices”  describes a 12-input logic gate that operates at the post-transcriptional level (i.e. as switchable RNA toeholds). IEEE Spectrum, the flagship magazine of the world’s largest professional engineering organization, reached out to Julius for his […]


The Lucks Lab is hiring!

The Lucks Lab is hiring a research technologist. If you, or someone you know, is interested in working with a great team of scientists unraveling the RNA sequence:structure:function relationship, this job may be for you! See the job listing here.   Job Summary: The Research Technologist will perform duties in […]


Our Cotranscriptional SHAPE-Seq paper is recommended by F1000Prime

The group’s paper on Cotranscriptional folding of a riboswitch at nucleotide resolution has been recommended by F1000Prime! F1000, or Faculty of 1000, is a post-publication peer review service which utilizes recommendations from thousands of experts to recommend the most important papers in the field. Our work on Cotrans SHAPE-Seq was recommended by F1000 […]


Luyi Cheng joins the Lucks Lab!

Luyi Cheng, a PhD student in the IBIS graduate program at Northwestern, has joined the Lucks Lab for her PhD research! Luyi completed her B.S. in Biochemistry at the University of Washington and did undergraduate research in structural biology. She brings her expertise and passion for structural biology to the […]


Phillip Clauer joins the lab for summer research.

Phillip Clauer, who just wrapped up his sophomore year in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology program at Penn State, has joined our lab for summer research! For the past 2 years Phillip has been working on genetic circuits in the Salis Lab at Penn State, and he’s hoping to expand his […]


Julius is quoted in The Scientist magazine

The latest publication from the Voigt lab, published today in Nature Chemical Biology, describes the use of an elaborate optogenetic circuit in E. coli to create spatially and temporally resolved pattens of gene expression that respond to light. In this particular instance, expression of red, green or blue fluorescence proteins is triggered by exposure […]


Julius receives Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar award!

Congratulations to Julius Lucks for being named a Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar! This prestigious award of the Camille and Henry Dreyfus foundation is given annually to young faculty who have an outstanding body of scholarship and a commitment to education in the fields of chemistry, chemical engineering and related sciences. Click […]


Northwestern CSB Marches for Science!

Several Northwestern University Center for Synthetic Biology faculty, staff and students are featured in a Northwestern University video “At Northwestern, We March for Science Everyday.” Click the link to see our own, Julius Lucks, voicing his support for public funding of scientific research!  


Julius is quoted in the Wall Street Journal!

A new nucleic acid detection method promises attomolar detection of viral nucleic acids using the CRISPR-Cas13a/C2c2 system. The work, published last week in Science, hit the web during the same week as attorneys for UC Berkeley announced that they will appeal the USPTO’s decision that Berkeley’s CRISPR patents do not overlap with those […]


Eric & Kyle’s paper on biotin-streptavidin roadblocks for Cotranscriptional SHAPE-Seq is now online at NAR!

Eric and Kyle’s paper “Distributed biotin-streptavidin transcription roadblocks for mapping cotranscriptional RNA folding” is now online at Nucleic Acids Research! This work makes cotranscriptional SHAPE-Seq even easier and more accessible by developing a “one-pot” synthesis for roadblocking DNA templates and uncovers important details about how collision with different transcription roadblocks can […]


Adam joins the lab!

Adam Silverman has joined the Lucks lab as a PhD student in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. Adam completed his undergraduate degree from Georgia Tech’s Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. As an undergrad, Adam worked in the Mark Styczynski lab on developing a clinically-relevant bacterial biosensor for […]


James and Julius preview a new article in Cell Systems!

James and Julius were recently asked to write a preview on a new paper published in Cell Systems (“Design and Construction of Generalizable RNA-Protein Hybrid Controllers by Level-Matched Genetic Signal Amplification”). Read their preview, “Turning It Up to 11: Modular Proteins Amplify RNA Sensors for Sophisticated Circuitry,” on how ligand-sensing RNA […]


Congratulations to Dr. David Loughrey on passing his defense!

Congratulations to Dr. Loughrey on successfully defending his PhD work! David joined the Lucks lab after completing his B.S. in Chemical Engineering at University College Dublin and has been instrumental in helping the lab develop next generation techniques for RNA structure determination. Check out David’s publication on SHAPE-Seq 2.0 here! […]


Benchling minisite details the use of STARs for transcriptional control.

  Julius and James recently shared with Benchling, a life science data management and collaboration platform, the conceptual design and implementation of small transcription activating RNAs (STARs). The minisite details how terminator structures in biology are used to halt transcription and how they can be cleverly reconfigured to attenuate or activate […]


The Lucks Lab and Northwestern featured prominently at the EBRC fall retreat!

Julius and Khalid recently attended the inaugural retreat of the Engineering Biology Research Consortium (EBRC) held at Caltech. EBRC (https://www.ebrc.org) aims to be the leading organization in the field of synthetic biology, showcasing cutting-edge research, identifying and addressing global challenges in the field, and building an inclusive community of students, […]


STARs Win Best New Basic Part Award at iGEM 2016 Competition!

Congratulations to the iGEM team at Imperial College who managed to win the Grand Prize at this years iGEM competition for their “ecolibrium” project that we recently featured on our website. @imperialigem wins the Grand Prize at #iGEM2016 #GiantJamboree! Congratulations! You guys are some real STARs! https://t.co/4i9ayYM3Nh — The Lucks […]


SHAPE-Seq reactivity matrix

Our paper on Cotranscriptional SHAPE-Seq is published!

Kyle, Eric, and Angela’s paper “Cotranscriptional Folding of a Riboswitch at Nucleotide Resolution” is online in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology and a featured news story through Northwestern. With the development of cotranscriptional SHAPE-seq, this paper marks a milestone in RNA biology as the first strategy for the measurement of nascent RNA […]


Imperial iGEM team uses STARs!

Congratulations to the Imperial College London 2016 iGEM team for using Small Transcription Activating RNAs (STARs) regulators in their project – ecolibrium! Their project looks at developing a framework and new tools for engineering co-cultures of bacteria. We’re honored that they choose to use STARs and the power of RNA […]


The Lucks Lab moves to Northwestern University

The entire Lucks Lab for RNA Engineering has recently moved to Northwestern University! The lab joins the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering and joins Danielle Tullman Ercek’s group as the newest members of Northwestern’s Center for Synthetic Biology, which aims to program biological […]


Khalid K. Alam joins as a postdoctoral fellow!

  The Lucks Lab for RNA Engineering is excited to announce that Khalid K. Alam has joined the lab as the newest postdoctoral fellow! Khalid recently completed his PhD work on aptamer evolution and engineering from the Burke Lab at the University of Missouri, and supplements the Lucks Lab’s expertise […]