Synthetic biologist’s work in RNA biology and engineering could lead to new diagnostics, therapeutics

Julius Lucks, member of the Chemistry of Life Processes Institute, is among 13 young faculty members nationwide selected to receive a 2017 Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award.

The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation annually awards the research grant to young faculty in the chemical sciences who have created an independent body of outstanding scholarship and demonstrate a commitment to education.

The unrestricted $75,000 award will support Lucks’ research goal of understanding how RNA molecules fold inside cells to help coordinate the biochemical processes of life.

Lucks and his research group use engineering questions and approaches to drive fundamental science investigations into RNA folding. Once Lucks and his team discover principles of how RNAs work in nature, they use these principles for engineering new RNA biotechnologies — from diagnostics to new medical therapeutics.

Lucks, who joined Northwestern in 2016, is an associate professor of chemical and biological engineering at McCormick.

Original article written by Megan Fellman and published on the McCormick School of Engineering News.