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

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

Design of a transcriptional biosensor for the portable, on-demand detection of cyanuric acid.
X. Liu, A. D. Silverman, K. K. Alam, E. Iverson, J. B. Lucks*, M. C. Jewett*, S. Raman*. ACS Synthetic Biology. (2019)
Links: Journal, BioRxiv, PDF

De-novo-designed translational repressors for multi-input cellular logic.
J. Kim, Y. Zhou, P. D. Carlson, M. Teichmann, F. C. Simmel, P. A. Silver, J. J. Collins, J. B. Lucks, P. Yin, A. A. Green*. Nature Chemical Biology. (2019).
Links: Journal, BioRxiv, PDF

DUETT quantitatively identifies known and novel events in nascent RNA structural dynamics from chemical probing data.
A. Y Xu, A. M Yu, J. B. Lucks, N. Bagheri.* Bioinformatics. (2019).
Links: Journal, PDF

A ligand-gated strand displacement mechanism for ZTP riboswitch transcription regulation.
E. J. Strobel*, L. Cheng, K. E. Berman, P. D. Carlson, J. B. Lucks*. Nature Chemical Biology. (2019). 
Links: Journal, BioRxiv, PDF