Our Company


Making all RNA visible and druggable

Lucerna, Inc. is a biotechnology tool company focused on developing and commercializing the fluorescent aptamer (Spinach™) technology for the purposes of: 1.) Providing plug-and-play RNA imaging and detection systems as research reagents, 2.) Developing high-throughput screening platforms to enable new drug discovery of previous intractable targets, and 3.) Developing fluorescent sensors for industrial production applications.

Lucerna was founded by Cornell University scientists who are the inventors of the Spinach™ technology and have published over 20 articles on the technology. The founding team has demonstrated expertise in the fields of RNA biology, aptamer development, chemical biology, and fluorescence imaging. Additionally, Lucerna scientists have extensive experience in RNA biology, fluorescence imaging, high-throughput screening and assay development.

Our Team

Karen Wu

Karen Wu President & Co-Founder

Samie R. Jaffrey

Samie R. Jaffrey Scientific Advisor, Co-Founder

Jeremy S. Paige

Jeremy S. Paige Co-Founder

Carolyn E. Car

Carolyn E. Car Cellular Assay Team Leader

Ryan O'Hanlon

Ryan O'Hanlon Splicing Assay Team Leader

Aminoor Rashid

Aminoor Rashid Machine Learning Team

Shanai Brown

Shanai Brown Splicing Assay Team

Xinnan Guo

Xinnan Guo Splicing Assay Team

Arya Phatak

Arya Phatak Cellular Assay Team

Our Partners

Jaffrey Lab

The Jaffrey lab founded the field of mRNA “epitranscriptomics,” i.e., the study of the role and function of mRNA base modifications. Its transcriptome-wide mapping of m6A was the first global analysis of an mRNA base modification and helped to initiate widespread interest in m6A as a regulatory mechanism for mRNA and ncRNAs. A major mission of the Jaffrey lab is to develop enabling technologies for revealing new principles of RNA biology. These have included novel proteomic and computational techniques, as well as chemical biology tools for imaging RNA and RNA biology in cells.


Librede, Inc. is a biotechnology company that has developed a new way of producing natural cannabinoids via fermentation. Librede's proprietary yeast produce natural cannabinoids in the same way that the plant does. Unlike agricultural production, fermentation is a more environmentally and economically sustainable way to produce cannabinoids at the large scale.


The National Cancer Institute is the oldest and largest of all NIH institutes and centers. The NCI coordinates the National Cancer Program, which conducts and supports research, training, health information dissemination, and other programs with respect to the cause, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of cancer, rehabilitation from cancer, and the continuing care of cancer patients and the families of cancer patients.