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Postdoctoral Training Opportunity - RNA Folding and Function

The Lucks Laboratory

Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering Center for Synthetic Biology

Northwestern University

What they are looking for: They are seeking a creative and enthusiastic postdoctoral researcher interested in studying the link between dynamic RNA folding and function. Current NIH-funded projects include studying bacterial riboswitches to understand the principles of RNA cotranscriptional folding and its impact on fundamental gene expression processes. The lab is also interested in studying eukaryotic phenomena and in using these principles to design synthetic RNAs to control genetic processes. They develop and apply cutting edge experimental and computational approaches that enable the high throughput interrogation and design of RNA regulatory systems. They are interested in candidates that are passionate about these questions, are excited to lead projects, and that have interest in experimental and/or computational approaches.

Who they are: The Lucks Lab is a highly energetic, multidisciplinary, collaborative and diverse research group working at the forefront of RNA biology. The staff come from a wide array of backgrounds (molecular biology, genetics, systems biology, chemical engineering, bioengineering, biophysics, and more) and are driven to creatively tackle fascinating and challenging problems in RNA biology. They research both fundamental RNA biology questions, as well as questions related to engineering synthetic RNA systems to address important global challenges. They are embedded in a highly collaborative network of Departments, Programs and Centers around Northwestern, and are integral members of the ChicagoLand RNA club that links Northwestern, the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago and other regional groups interested in RNA.

Relevant recent publications:

  • E. Watters, E. J. Strobel, A. Yu, J. B. Lucks (2016). “Cotranscriptional Folding of a Riboswitch at Nucleotide Resolution”, Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, 23, 1124-1131, doi:10.1038/nsmb.3316.
  • J. Strobel, L. Chang, K. Berman, P. D. Carlson, J. B. Lucks (2019). “A ligand-gated strand displacement mechanism for ZTP riboswitch transcription control.” Nature Chemical Biology, 15, 1067-1076, doi:10.1038/s41589-019-0382-7.
  • Y Xue, A. M Yu, J. B. Lucks, N. Bagheri*, (2019). “DUETT quantitatively identifies novel events in nascent RNA structural dynamics from chemical probing data.” Bioinformatics, 35, 5103-5112, doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btz449.
  • Yu, P. M. Gasper, L. Cheng, L. B. Lai, S. Kaur, V. Gopalan, A. A. Chen, J. B. Lucks (2020). “Computationally reconstructing RNA cotranscriptional folding pathways from experimental data reveals rearrangement of non-native folding intermediates”. BioRxiv, doi:10.1101/379222.
  • D. Carlson, J. B. Lucks (2019). “Elements of RNA Design.” Biochemistry, 58, 1457-1459. doi: 10.1021/acs.biochem.8b01129.

For more information: Please visit the lab's website.

To apply: Provide a cover letter describing your previous research and your interest in the lab, and a CV with names and contact information for references to

Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes, including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the United States.