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Dr. Linda Luck

Professor of Biochemistry

As a faculty member and scientist my goal is to serve the scientific community by doing high-quality research in areas that impact our society—and the world. In order to do important research in chemistry and biology, I have expanded my expertise, developed new skills, and fostered collaboration with other research scientists around the globe. Collaboration is an important part of my research style as I can thereby extend my and my students’ work to address larger and more complex problems. I have been a faculty member at SUNY Plattsburgh for 12 years. Previous to this I spent 12 years at Clarkson University where I was a faculty member in the Chemistry and Biology Departments. I also hold an adjunct position in the Biochemistry Department at the University of Vermont College of Medicine.

In my research endeavors, I take a broad experimental approach to answering scientific questions which incorporates methods of genetic engineering, molecular modeling, NMR, titrating calorimetry, mass spectrometry, electrochemistry, fluorescence and UV spectroscopy. I draw on my experience in graduate school, in postdoctoral positions, and in my work at the National Laboratory. The research in my laboratory embraces both science and technology and so my goal is to both address scientific questions and develop new methodologies. Although my initial area of expertise and inquiry was investigating receptor proteins using fluorine NMR I have branched out to advance research in the area of biosensors, an area of inquiry that is and has been of interest to funders and academic journals. My key focus in the biosensor research is to develop sensitive and specific biosensors using genetically engineered proteins. The main goal is to develop surfaces where these proteins can be sequestered and serve as a platform for the detection of target chemicals. I have collaborated with a number of research groups to explore different detection methods and methodology for embedding matrices for proteins. These have included methodologies of electrochemistry, nanoparticles, atomic force microscopy, quartz crystal microbalance and surface plasmon resonance. I performed a recent innovative study developing a responsive “smart” protein hydrogel material that can be used as a biosensor. This study serves as a proof of concept for biosensors that can be constructed with photonic crystals embedded with genetically engineered proteins.

One of my research endeavors in the past couple of years is the development of a miniaturized biosensor to detect glucose in human tears. This groundbreaking work with a company named Opticology, will allow the diabetic population to monitor their glucose levels without needles. Also this biosensor methodology is being adapted to the detection of heavy metals in the environment.

My curiosity and enjoyment in culinary chemistry field prompted me to pursue research in this area, namely molecular gastronomy. For my sabbatical I was able to obtain an Erasmus Mundus Scholars Scholarship to study and pursue research work in this area in Paris, France. I mainly resided in the laboratory of Hervé This, who is the “Father of Molecular Gastronomy.”

One of my studies in this area is the investigation of the use of metallic nanoparticles to distill liquids. In this study, the nanoparticles are immersed in water and can act as efficient nanoscale generators of steam when illuminated by a Fresnel lens and sunlight. In this project, I will further investigate the use of the solar steam nanobubble phenomenon to distill ethanol from white wine and mash. The nanoparticles used in previous studies have been silicon based. My lab will take a novel approach and investigate the use of nanoparticles that have a magnetic metal covered with a gold surface. The project has a dual purpose: 1) the investigation of a “green method” for distillation of spirits and 2) the use of magnetic metal cored gold nanoparticles so they can be stirred during the process, recovered after the process and reused in subsequent distillations.

My other on-going project is the production of food from chemicals namely Note by Note Cuisine. In essence every food is made up of a basic chemicals. In my lab the students will investigate the construction of food using the basic chemical constituents — which is the ultimate “cooking from scratch.” Then we will engineer some different foods that are “never eaten before creations.”

  • Education
    • Ph.D. in Chemistry, University of Vermont, Burlington, 1989 Thesis title: Stereodynamics of Platinum Phosphine Complexes
    • M.A. in Chemistry, State University of New York, Plattsburgh, 1980 Thesis title: The Purification of Elongation Factor II in Protein Biosynthesis
    • B.A. in Chemistry, State University of New York, Potsdam, 1974
    • Medical Technology Internship 1973–1974, Medical Center at Princeton, Princeton, N.J. American Society of Clinical Pathologists Registered Medical Technologist
    • Postdoctoral Training:
      • Department of Chemistry/Biochemistry, University of Colorado, Boulder
      • Department of Chemistry, University of Wisconsin, Madison
      • Department of Biochemistry, Medical School, University of Vermont
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