With Matt’s PLANT-Dx paper and our feature on Planet Forward, the Lucks Lab makes its official foray into diagnostics!

The Lucks Lab is excited to announce the first of many papers describing our work in developing point-of-use (POU) diagnostics! Published in ACS Synthetic Biology and led by PhD candidate Matthew Verosloff and former Lucks Lab postdoc James Chappell (now a professor at Rice), PLANT-Dx (Point of use Laboratory for Nucleic Acid in a Tube) combines the lab’s expertise in engineering RNA interactions with cell-free synthetic biology to create a cheap, robust, and user-friendly platform for agricultural diagnostics.

PLANT-Dx: A Molecular Diagnostic for Point of Use Detection of Plant Pathogens

PLANT-Dx begins by taking plant lysate, which can be hand-ground from a leaf, and utilizes molecular sensors to produce a visible color if the plant is infected with a virus. Furthermore, we demonstrate that this system requires only the user’s body heat to run, thereby dispensing with the need for sophisticated laboratory equipment or bulky and costly peripheral equipment. Supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, this technology aims to deliver informed decision making capabilities to small-scale farmers worldwide.

Planet Forward, a science and environmental storytelling website, recently featured PLANT-Dx with an excellent article and video interview of the team. Check it out!

Congratulations Matt! Stay tuned for our upcoming papers using synthetic biology for a wide range of POU diagnostic purposes!

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