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Chemistry Faculty — Dr. Linda Luck

Dr. Linda Luck

Professor of Biochemistry

I have just moved to SUNY Plattsburgh after spending 12 years at Clarkson University. Previous to that I was a Senior Scientist at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences at Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. I taught a number of courses ranging from Biology laboratories to NMR spectroscopy and Physical Biochemistry. In my career I have trained 1 senior scientist, 4 postdoctoral Students, 4 Ph.D students, 12 Masters students and over 70 Undergraduate research students in my laboratory. I served as Director of the Premedical Advising program at Clarkson University for six years. I also hold a position of Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Vermont College of Medicine.

My research laboratory has moved to Hudson Annex at SUNY Plattsburgh and my goals are to understand how structure relates to function in biological molecules. In particular we are interested in studying how conformational changes that take place in proteins affect biological events such as the onset of Breast Cancer. In my laboratory we use proteins ranging from bacteria and human proteins including the Estrogen Receptor and Androgen Receptor. Recently we have developed biosensors from these proteins. My laboratory students use an array of methods spanning biophysics, biochemistry, protein engineering, and molecular biology. My students have access to modern tools of chemistry and biology including fluorescence, NMR, mass spectrometry, X-ray crystallography, electrochemistry, and molecular graphics.


The Human Estrogen Receptor and Cancer

A present focus of my research is to explain the molecular basis for reproductive cancers especially breast cancer. Activation and control of the estrogen receptor play a critical role in both the development and progression of breast cancer. Transcriptional activation is thought to be stimulated via a ligand-dependent conformational change when ligands bind to the estrogen receptor. It is critical that we understand the molecular details of the interactions between the estrogen receptor and estradiol, antiestrogens and environmental estrogens. Although a crystal structure has provided us with a static picture of the hormone-binding domain of the estrogen receptor these data have not addressed the conformational changes that mediate the transcriptional events within the nucleus. We are investigating the use of NMR experiments to provide a greater understanding of how structurally diverse estrogens and antiestrogens interact with the estrogen receptor.

Biosensors for Endocrine Disruptors

Our laboratory is exploring the use of a Quartz Crystal Microbalance as a biosensor for the xenobiotic compounds that bind to the Estrogen and Androgen hormone receptors. One of the interesting and impending characteristics of the steroid receptors is their ability to tolerate large changes in ligand structure. A wide variety of diverse nonsteriodal compounds exhibit high affinity binding towards the steroid receptors, from such structural classes as pyrazole, stilbestrol, coumarin, isoflavones, and benzofurans. The behavior of compounds with respect to their steroid binding properties has proven difficult to predict because surprisingly, many bear no resemblance to endogenous steroids. Because such a diversity of compounds exhibit steroid behavior, and these compounds produce such dramatic and systemic effects, it is essential that we test new compounds before they are released into the environment where their effects on human and wildlife health could be enormous.

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  • 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, NJ
    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

Teaching Areas

  • Biochemistry
  • NMR Spectroscopy
  • Physical Biochemistry
  • Bioinformatics
  • Biotechnology
  • Kitchen Chemistry: Molecular Gastronomy


  • Professor of Chemistry, SUNY Plattsburgh 2006
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Biochemistry at the University of Vermont College of Medicine 2006
  • Professor of Chemistry and Biology, Clarkson University 2005-2006
  • Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biology, Clarkson University 2000-2005
  • Visiting Professor Department of Biochemistry at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. Spring 2003
  • Director of Premedical Advising Program Clarkson University 2000-2006
  • Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biology, Clarkson University 1994-2000
  • Adjunct Senior Scientist W. Alton Jones Cell Center Lake Placid NY 1995-1998
  • Senior Scientist, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, NC 1993-1994

Editorial Boards

  • Member of the Editorial Board of Analytical Biochemistry 2011-2014
  • Member of the Editorial Board of Mediterranean Journal of Chemistry 2011


  • SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities, 2012
  • Featured Scholar, Celebration of Scholarship, SUNY Plattsburgh, 2010
  • Participant in COACh Professional Skills Development for Women Faculty, 2002 and 2003
  • Graham Research Faculty Award, 2000
  • Finn Wold Travel Award-Protein Society, 1996
  • Participant in AAMC Professional Development Seminar for Junior Women Faculty, 1992


  • DURIP DOD /ARO “Purchase of a NanoHPLC (UPLC) for the Advancement of Proteomics Research at Clarkson University and SUNY Plattsburgh “ 2011-2014 $107,435
  • President’s Award “19F NMR Studies of the Estrogen Receptor” 2011-2012 $5,000
  • SUNY Mini Grant “Mass Spectrometry of Proteins” 2011 $1200
  • UUP Professional Development Individual Awards Program 2008-09
  • Educational Technology Grant SUNY “Using the Personal Computer and Internet for Biochemistry Education in the Laboratory” 2009-2010 $23,000
  • SUNY Curriculum Development Proposal for the Professional Science Master’s Program $10,000 Project Team Leader for the Allied Health Initiative
  • NSF MRI “Acquisition of an LCMS for the Chemistry Department at the University of Vermont” $430,000 2008-2011 Co PI
  • Educational Technology Grant SUNY “Green Chemistry: Effective Education using Computer Simulations and Calculations” 2007 Co-PI with Dr. Ed Miller $50,000
  • UUP Professional Development Individual Awards Program 2006-07
  • DOD BRCP“Development of a Biosensor for Identifying Novel Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals” 2007-2009 $93,000 CO-PI with Silent Spring Institute, Newton, MA
  • NSF “Summer supplement for High School Teacher for Electrochemical Impedence Architecture for Biosensors” Co-PI with Ian Suni 2006-2007 $10,000
  • NSF “Electrochemical Impedance Architecture for Biosensors” Co-PI with Ian Suni 2003-2007 $300,000
  • NSF Funded Faculty Associate-K-12 Project Based Learning Partnership Program 2000-2002 $48,688
  • NIH RO3 "Estrogenic Substance Detection by a Modified Nanobalance" PI 2001-2004 $146,308
  • PRF ACS-AC "Probing the Dynamic Behavior of the Human Estrogen Receptor by 19F NMR" PI 2001-2004 $60,000
  • Heart and Stroke Canada Research Grant OAI-1 "Structure Function and Interaction Studies" Co-PI with Art Szabo University of Waterloo, Toronto CA 2001-2002 $25,000
  • PRF ACS-G “Development of New 19F NMR Probes to Study the Estrogen Receptor with Environmental Chemicals” PI 1999-2000 $25,000
  • Corning Grant “ MSI software for Molecular Modeling in Biochemistry and Biotechnology Classes” 1998 $100,000
  • NIH “Biophysics of Tissue Factor Interactions” collaborator with J.B. Alexander Ross, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, NY Grant HL-29019 1998-2003 $796,268
  • DOD BRCP, “Substrate Induced Conformational Studies of the Hormone Binding Domain of the Human Estrogen Receptor by Fluorine NMR”, PI 1996-1999 $145,332
  • University Committee for Improvement of Teaching Grant,” Implementing Molecular Modeling In the Biology Curriculum” Clarkson University 1995 $30,000
  • NIH Fellow University of Vermont Medical College Grant #13207594–08, 1991–1993

Selected Recent Publications

  • Grapes of Class: Teaching Chemistry Concepts at a Winery. Luck, L.A. and Blondo, R.M. Journal of Chemical Education 89 1264-1266. (2012
  • Cysteine Residues in Receptor Proteins: Structural Insights from Two E. coli Periplasmic Receptors. Roy, U and Luck, L.A. Journal of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering 5 771-777. (2011)
  • Genetically Engineered Protein Films on Gold Nanoparticles: A Novel Electrochemical Glucose Biosensor. Andreescu, S. and Luck, L.A. Analytical Biochemistry 375 282-290. (2008)
  • Molecular Modeling of the Estrogen Receptor Using Molecular Operating Environment. Roy, U. and Luck, L.A., Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education 35 238-243. (2007)
  • Immobilization of the Glucose-Galactose Receptor Protein onto a Au Electrode Through a Genetically Engineered Cysteine Residue. Wang, J., Luck, L.A. and Suni, I.I., Electrochemical and Solid-state Letters 10 (2) 133-136. (2007)
  • Nanobiosensor Design Utilizing a Periplasmic E.coli Receptor Protein Immobilized within Au/Polycarbonate Nanopores. Tripathi, A., Wang, J., Luck, L.A. and Suni, I.I., Analytical Chemistry 79 (3) 1266-1270. (2007)
  • Quartz Crystal Microbalance with Immobilized Protein Receptors: A Comparison of Response to Ligand Binding for Direct Protein Immobilization and Protein Attachment via a Disulfide Linker. Baltus, R.E, Carmon, K.S., and Luck, L.A., Langmuir 23 3990-3995. (2007)
  • Change in Rigidity in the Activated Form of the Glucose/Galactose Receptor from E.coli: A Phenonmenon that will be Key to the Development of Piezoelectric Biosensors. Sokolov, I. Subba-Rao, V. and Luck, L.A., Biophysical J. 90, 1055-1063. (2006)
  • A Biosensor for Estrogenic Substances using a Quartz Crystal Microbalance. Carmon, K.S., Baltus, R.E.and Luck, L.A., Analytical Biochemistry 345, 277-283. (2005)
  • Electrochemical Impedance Biosensor for Glucose Detection Utilizing a Periplasmic E. coli Receptor Protein. Wang, J., Carmon, K. S., Luck, L.A. and Suni, I.I., Electrochemical and Solid-state Letters 8, 61-64. (2005)
  • A Piezoelectric Quartz Crystal Biosensor: The Use of Two Single Cysteine Mutants of the Periplasmic E.coli Glucose/Galactose Receptor as Target Proteins for the Detection of Glucose. Carmon, K.S., Baltus, R.E. and Luck, L.A., Biochemistry 43, 14249-14256. (2004)
  • 19F NMR Studies of Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor-1. Abbott, G.L., Blouse, G.E., Perron, M.J., Shore, J.D., Luck, L.A. and Szabo, A.G., Biochemistry 43, 1507-1519. (2004)
  • X-Ray Structures of the Leucine-binding Protein Illustrate Conformational Changes and the Basis of Ligand Specificity. Magnusson, U., Salopek-Sondi, B., Luck, L.A., and Mowbray, S. L. J. Biol. Chem. 279, 8747-8752. (2004)
  • Chemisorptions of Bacterial Receptors for Hydrophobic Amino Acids and Sugars on Gold for Biosensor Applications: A Surface Plasmon Resonance Study of Genetically Engineered Proteins. Luck, L.A., Moravan, M.J., Garland, J.E., Salopek-Sondi, B. and Roy, D., Biosensors and Bioelectronics 19, 249-259. (2003)
  • Insight into the Stability of the Hydrophobic Amino Acid Binding Proteins of E.coli: Assessing the Proteins for use as Biosensors. Salopek-Sondi, B., Skeels, M.C., Swartz, D. and Luck, L.A., Proteins: Structure, Function and Genetics 53, (2) 273-281. (2003)
  • 19F NMR Studies of the Leucine-Isoleucine-Valine Binding Protein: Evidence That a Closed Conformation Exists in Solution. Salopek-Sondi, B., Vaughn, M.D., Skeels, M.C., Honek, J.F. and Luck, L.A., Journal of Biomolecular Structure & Dynamics 21, 235-246. (2003)
  • Exploring the Role of Amino Acid-18 of the Leucine Binding Proteins of E. coli. Salopek-Sondi, B., Adams, P.S., Swartz, D. and Luck, L.A., Journal of Biomolecular Structure & Dynamics 20, 381-388. (2002)
  • 19F NMR Study of the L-Leucine Specific Binding Protein of E. coli: Mutagenesis and Assignment of the 5-Florotryptophan Labeled Residues. Salopek-Sondi, B. and Luck, L.A., Protein Engineering 15, 857-861. (2002)
  • Quantitative Analysis of Tryptophan Analogue Incorporation in Recombinant Proteins. Senear, D.F., Mendelson, R.A., Stone, D., Luck, L.A., Rusinova, E. and Ross, J.B.A., Analytical Biochemistry 300, 77-86. (2002)
  • Conformational Changes in the Human Estrogen Receptor Observed by Fluorine NMR. Luck, L.A., Barse, J.L., Luck, A.M. and Peck, C., Biochemical Biophysical Research Communications 270, 988-991. (2000)
  • Fluorescence and 19F NMR Evidence that Phenylalanine and 4-L-Fluorophenylalanine Bind to the L-Leucine Specific Receptor of Escherichia coli. Luck, L.A. and Johnson, C., Protein Science 9, 2573-2576. (2000)

Contact Linda Luck

Office: Hudson Hall 233
Phone: (518) 564-4119