Plastids (chloroplasts, amyloplasts, chromoplasts etc) in plants perform a wide range of important metabolic processes, such as photosynthesis. The plastid genome of higher plants is relatively small, 120-kb to 215-kb in size, and can be present in thousands of copies per cell. Engineering the plastid genome, instead of the nuclear genome, is advantageous because plastid transformation offers higher protein yields and a natural tool to prevent transgene flow via pollen.
Arabidopsis thaliana is the most advanced model plant species. However, most plastid transformation experiments are performed in Nicotiana tabacum. The main focus of my lab is to develop efficient, reproducible protocols to yield fertile plants after chloroplast transformation in Arabidopsis thaliana and the related crop plant Brassica napus.Research developed here will lead to the development of routine plastid engineering protocols for Arabidopsis and related crop species.
Another major objective of my lab is to train women and minorities in STEM fields to help develop a diverse, globally competitive work force. Students are recruited from the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) or Research Aligned Mentorship (RAM) programs. Select students also had the opportunity to spend one summer at Rutgers University in the lab of Dr. Pal Maliga to continue their projects.
Dr. Lutz is the Principal Investigator on the NSF S-STEM grant supporting students in Bioscience and Applied Mathematics by providing $5,000 fellowships per year for disadvantaged, high achieving undergraduates at Farmingdale State College.
- Award 2037155 for "EAGER: Re-engineering Agrobacterium for T-DNA delivery to chloroplasts"
- Award 1930132 for “Supporting Students in Bioscience and Applied Mathematics”
- Award 1716102 for "Plastid transformation in Arabidopsis thaliana"
Relevant Publications – View a complete list of publications
- Maliga, P, Tungsuchat Huang, T, and Lutz, K. Plastid Transformation in Nicotiana tabacum and Nicotiana sylvestris by Biolistic DNA Delivery to Leaves in P. Maliga (Ed.), Chloroplast Biotechnology: Methods and Protocols (Revised Edition): Humana Press.
- Yu, Q, LaManna, L, Kelly, M, Lutz, K and Maliga, P. (2019) New Tools for Engineering the Arabidopsis Plastid Genome. Plant Physiol. 181:394-398.
- Yu, Q, Lutz KA, Maliga P. (2017) Efficient Plastid Transformation in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiol. 175:186-193.
- Lutz KA, Martin C, *Khairzada S, Maliga P. (2015) Steroid-inducible BABY BOOM system for development of fertile Arabidopsis thaliana plants after prolonged tissue culture. Plant Cell Rep. 34:1849-1856. *undergraduate intern
- Lutz KA, Azhagiri AK, Maliga P. (2011) Transplastomics in Arabidopsis: progress towards developing an efficient method. Methods Mol. Biol. 774:133-147.
Current Undergraduate Student Interns:
- Ana Candia
- Sara Husain
Former Undergraduate Student Interns:
- Liya Simon
- Kelly Enriquez
- Sydney Matias
- Sophia Gomes
- Gina Picataggio
- Maritza Galeas
- Judith Romero
- Amy Hoose
- Leneshia Douglas
- Adriana Torres
- Julio Macias
- Natasha Tsay
- Kamai Silber
- Elizabeth Calvente
- Joseph Stabile
- Maryana Shcherban
- Synthia Gratia
- Zachary Taylor
- Jessica Ambrose
- Ahsan Muhammad
- Yulia Llanto
- Sahar Khairzada
- Dino Robinson
- Aquino Williams
- Gursagar Singh
- Joseph Saccente
Former High School Student Interns:
- Sarah Schneider
- Peter Martorana
- Erin Lutz