The Lucks Laboratory

The Lucks Laboratory

Uncovering the principles of molecular design for biology, medicine and biotechnology

The Lucks lab focuses on 4 main research areas:

General research description: We are a group of energetic scientists driven to understand and improve our relationship with the natural world. Our molecule of interest, RNA, is similar to DNA, but is more versatile within the cell. We study how the structure of RNA plays a role in its cellular jobs, how cells use molecules like RNA to monitor and respond to their changing environments, and how we can use these molecules in cell-free systems to monitor our own environments for health and sustainability.

News articles:
Northwestern University scientists sprint to develop new kind of rapid coronavirus test – Chicago Tribune
Simple test could prevent fluoride-related disease – Science Daily

Recent Publications

RNA Engineering for Public Health: Innovations in RNA-Based Diagnostics and Therapeutics.
W. Thavarajah#, L. M. Hertz#, D. Z. Bushhouse, C. M. Archuleta, and J.B. Lucks*. Annual Reviews (2021). doi: 10.1146/annurev-chembioeng-101420-014055, # = Equal contribution
Links: Journal, PDF

Dynamic control of gene expression with riboregulated switchable feedback promoters.
C.J. Glasscock, J.T. Lazar, B.W. Biggs, J.H. Arnold, M-K Kang, D. Tullman-Ercek, K.E.J. Tyo, J.B. Lucks*. ACS Synthetic Biology (2021). doi: 10.1021/acssynbio.1c00015
Links: Journal, BioRxiv, PDF

RNA sequence and structure determinants of Pol III transcriptional termination in human cells
Matthew S. Verosloff, William K. Corcoran, Taylor B. Dolberg, Joshua N. Leonard*, J.B. Lucks*. Journal of Molecular Biology (2021). doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2021.166978
Links: Journal, BioRxiv , PDF

Computationally reconstructing cotranscriptional folding pathways from experimental data reveals rearrangement of non-native folding intermediates.
A. M. Yu, P. M. Gasper, L. Cheng, L. B. Lai#, S. Kaur#, V. Gopalan, A. A. Chen, J. B. Lucks*. Molecular Cell (2021) doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2020.12.017 # = Equal contribution
Links: Journal, BioRxiv, PDF

Cell-free biosensors for rapid detection of water contaminants.
J. K. Jung#, K. K. Alam#, M. S. Verosloff, D. A. Capdevila, M. Desmau, P. R. Clauer, J. W. Lee, P. Q. Nguyen, P. A. Pasten, S. J. Matiasek, J.-F. Gaillard, D. P. Giedroc, J. J. Collins, J. B. Lucks*. Nature Biotechnology (2020) doi: 10.1038/s41587-020-0571-7 # = Equal contribution
Links: Journal, BioRxiv, PDF

Chemical transcription roadblocking for nascent RNA display.
E.J. Strobel, J.T. Lis, J.B. Lucks. Journal of Biological Chemistry.(2020)
Links: Journal, BioRxiv, PDF

Design and optimization of a cell-free atrazine biosensor.
A.D. Silverman, U. Akova, K.K. Alam, M.C. Jewett*, J. B. Lucks*ACS Synthetic Biology.(2020)
Links: Journal, BioRxiv, PDF

Point-of-use detection of environmental fluoride via a cell-free riboswitch-based biosensor.
W. Thavarajah, A. D. Silverman, M. S. Verosloff, N. Kelley-Loughnane, M. C. Jewett, J. B. Lucks*ACS Synthetic Biology.(2020)
Links: Journal, BioRxiv, PDF