New Spin on High Performance Materials

UC Riverside biologist and spider silk expert to discuss how and why scientists are using spiderwebs to develop incredible technologies

Cheryl Hayashi is a professor of biology at UC Riverside and an expert on spider silk. Photo credit: UCR Strategic Communications.


WHAT: Free public lecture, titled “Designs from Nature: A New Spin on High Performance Materials.”

WHEN: 6 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 7 in the auditorium at UCR Palm Desert, 75-080 Frank Sinatra Drive, Palm Desert, Calif.

WHO: Cheryl Hayashi, professor of biology at UC Riverside and an expert on spider silk, will discuss how and why scientists are using spiderwebs to develop incredible technologies.

A U.S. Presidential Scholar, National Merit Scholar, and a MacArthur Fellow, Hayashi specializes in the molecular and mechanical characterization of spider silks. Her lab at UCR does extensive mechanical testing of silk fibers from different spider species.

In her lecture, she will discuss how people have borrowed concepts from nature to invent new technologies, such as Velcro fasteners and sharkskin-surfaced swimsuits. She will discuss, too, the science behind these innovations and the challenges of adapting natural solutions to manmade problems. As a case study, she will talk about spiders and the efforts to replicate their silks.

BACKGROUND: Scientists have long been fascinated with spider silks—used by spiders to move, trap and store food, and to reproduce—because of their extraordinary mechanical properties. Different proteins are made and mixed in the silk glands of spiders to create the silk.

“Humans have and will continue to draw inspiration for new technologies from the incredibly rich results of evolutionary experiments that began millennia before we first appeared,” Hayashi says.

OTHER: For more information, please call (760) 834-0800. The lecture series is presented in partnership with the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at UCR. To register for the free lecture, please see “Related Links” below.

Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-6050
Twitter: UCR_Sciencenews

Additional Contacts

UCR Palm Desert Center
Tel: (760) 834-0800

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