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Author:Holland Lab

New Biomacromolecules Paper

The lab has just published a new paper on spider silk structure in ACS Biomacromolecules! While the ordered domains of spider silk fibers have been well characterized (beta-sheets), little is known regarding the more disordered (non-beta-sheet) domains. In this paper we explore Pro-containing beta-turn regions where we elucidate ring packing interactions with SSNMR and MD simulation in collaboration with Chris Lorenz at King's College London. Holland Lab Post-doc Kevin Chalek did all the SSNMR work and Chris conducted the MD simulation and analysis. We think this combined SSNMR/MD approach is going to be big moving forward as we continue to build a complete structural model of spider silk fibers. This collaborative work is funded by a new grant from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR). More exciting things to come, stay tuned...

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Prof. Scheibel Visits Holland Lab, SDSU

In October 2023, Prof. Scheibel from the University of Bayreuth, Germany, visited the Holland Lab and SDSU to work on collaborative research project and meet with lab members. Prof. Scheibel also gave a seminar to the Department of Chemistry on synthetic spider silk. ...

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Prof. Holland Presents at AFOSR Grant Review

In December 2023, Prof. Holland attended the AFOSR grant review in Ft. Walton Beach FL. The talk was a transitional talk where Prof. Holland discussed the close out of the lab's previous grant on spider silk and natural materials research and discussed new research directions for the new grant that just started in September 2023. ...

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Holland Lab Attends Soft Matter Conferences at University of San Diego

In October 2023, the Holland Lab attended the Soft Matter Conference at the University of San Diego. PhD graduate student Hannah Johnson presented her recent work using solution NMR to understand liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) of spider silk proteins as an important intermediate step en route to spider silk formation. Post-doc, Dr. Kevin Chalek presented his recent work on using solid-state NMR to probe dragline and prey wrap spider silk structure in the fibrous form. New PhD graduate student Alexia De Loera presented her solution NMR work on spider silk protein biomimetic peptides. Undergraduate Julian Aldana presented his recent work on molecular dynamics simulation of silk proteins. A number of other new undergraduate and graduate students from the lab also attended to learn more about nationally recognized Soft Matter physics and chemistry researcher. ...

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Holland Lab Awarded New AFOSR Grant

In September 2023, the Holland Lab was awarded a new AFOSR grant. The grant is titled: "Elucidating the Intrinsically Disordered State, Supramolecular Assembly and Protein Condensates in Natural Materials Formation". The grant is for 800K and will fund research in understanding spider silk formation. The grant will focus on the intrinsically disordered state, how silk proteins assemble and an intermediate step triggered by liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) in spider silk formation. The research will focus on both native and recombinant spider silk protein systems and rely heavily on solution and solid-state NMR, and our growing use of molecular dynamics (MD) simulation and NMR computational tools to determine spider silk protein conformational ensembles. The LLPS intermediate step is a new phenomenon in the context of biomaterials formation and solution NMR will play a key role in determining the atomic level interactions responsible for the formation of these unique phases. Our MD component will be bolstered by a new collaboration with Prof. Chris Lorenz's Lab at King's College London. For more on Chris' Lab see here: https://www.kcl.ac.uk/people/chris-lorenz ...

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Holland Lab Featured in San Diego Union Tribune

In August 2023, the Holland Lab was featured in the San Diego Union Tribune. The article was on the front page of the Sunday paper! The article titled: "Rolling in the Money and Talent: SDSU Sets Up as Key Player in Science Scene" was focused on SDSU's growing research portfolio that totaled 192 M this past year. The Lab's spider silk research was featured in the article together with some nice pics of spiders and silk collection. The article can be found here: https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/science/story/2023-08-27/sdsu-major-research-school ...

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Holland Lab Attends ACS National Meeting

In August 2023, the Holland Lab attended the ACS National Meeting in San Francisco, CA. Prof. Holland gave a talk titled: "Combining Solution NMR and Modeling to Determine Structural Ensembles of Spider Silk Proteins". The presentation focused on how the lab is combining coarse grain and atomistic molecular dynamic (MD) simulation together with CS-ROSETTA determined structural ensembles to understand spider silk protein structure in solution. The talk was in the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance of Materials Session. ...

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Holland Lab Attends Gordon Research Conference on Silk

In July 2023, the Holland Lab attended the first Gordon Research Conference on Silk at Bryant University in RI. PhD graduate student Hannah Johnson presented her work on using solution NMR to understand liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) of native spider silk proteins as an intermediate step in spider silk assembly. Post-doc, Dr. Kevin Chalek, presented his solid-state NMR work on dragline and prey wrap spider silk structure. And, Prof. Holland gave a presentation titled: "Combining Biophysical Methods to Understand Spider Silk Formation". ...

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Holland Lab Awarded New NSF Grant

In June 2023, the Holland Lab was awarded a new NSF-CHE grant. The grant is for 476K and will fund Holland lab research on Bio-Nano interfaces. The grant is titled: "Elucidating Bio-Nano Interface Atomic Structure and Peptide Directed Nanoparticle Formation". The Holland Lab is developing atomic and molecular level structural understanding of nano-bio interfaces and the influence of nanoparticle curvature, mesoporosity and morphology on biomolecular ligand structure, dynamics and organization on nanoparticle surfaces. The project is creating valuable research training opportunities for students at various levels that is further integrated with outreach activity development. Prof. Holland is building a highly interdisciplinary research and education program on nanoparticle surface characterization involving broad participation of graduate, undergraduate and High School interns contributing to the training of a diverse workforce. ...

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Holland Lab Attends CSUPERB Conference in Santa Clara, CA

In January 2023, The Holland Lab attended the Annual CSU Biotechnology Symposium in Santa Clara CA. Undergraduates Anikin Domingo and Andy Chua presented on isotope enrichment on spider silk proteins for NMR characterization. Undergraduate Julian Aldana presented his recent work on coarse grain and atomistic molecular dynamics (MD) simulation to understand spider silk protein structure and assembly. And PhD student Hannah Johnson, post-doc, Dr.Kevin Chalek and Professor Holland presented at the NSF-ICORPS session on Spider-silk Inspired Biologics. The latter focused on potential commercialization ideas of the lab's spider silk research. ...

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Prof. Holland Attends AFOSR Grant Review

In December 2022, Prof. Holland presented recent work from the lab at the annual AFOSR grant review. The grant and talk is titled: "Hierarchical Assembly of Spider Silk Proteins: Exploring the Structural Biology of Biomaterials from the Atomic to the Mesoscale". The grant and presentation focused on how the lab is combining biophysical methods including nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), cryo-transmission electron microscopy (cryo-TEM), and molecular dynamics (MD) simulation to understand spider silk assembly across hierarchical length scales. ...

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Holland Lab Participates in NSF-ICORPS Program

In October 2022, The Holland Lab was part of the NSF-ICORPS program that is focused on commercialization of academic lab research discoveries. PhD graduate student Hannah Johnson, post-doc Dr. Kevin Chalek and Prof. Holland worked with the ICORPS team at SDSU to develop ideas to commercialize aspects of the labs spider silk research. In the future, this may be the spring board to a start-up company spun out of the lab. ...

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Holland Lab Attends SCUM (Southern California Users of Magnets) Conference at University of Santa Barbara

In September 2022, the Holland Lab attended the SCUM conference to present work from the lab that is focused on Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR). PhD graduate student Hannah Johnson presented her work on using solution NMR to understand spider silk protein spinning dope. PhD graduate student Yuan Li presented her solid-state NMR work on nanoscale hydroxyapatite. And post-doc Dr. Kevin Chalek presented on solid-state NMR structural characterization of spider silk fibers. ...

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Holland Lab is Looking for a Post-doc

A DOD-funded postdoctoral position is available at San Diego State University in the general area of exploring atomic and molecular level structure and dynamics in spider silk proteins with solution and solid-state NMR together with cryo-TEM and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. Developing a fundamental understanding of how spider silk proteins assemble into high performance biomaterials will impact applications in the defense, medical and space exploration sectors. The biochemical transformation processes that take place to synthesize protein-based materials remains a complicated problem with numerous unanswered questions. These structural evolutions are mostly unexplored due to the lack of combined experimental data that can link the atomic, molecular and meso- length scales. The aim of this research is to harness recent advances in magnetic resonance, cryo-TEM and simulation to develop models for the transformation of soluble silk proteins to materials that out-perform man-made systems.             The successful applicant will become part of a large multi-university team to investigate and characterize spider silk structural biology from solution through the solid, fibrous material. The applicant must possess outstanding communication skills and be able to clearly communicate the scientific significance of  this work to colleagues with backgrounds in theory, chemistry, biology and materials science. The applicant will be responsible for acquiring and analyzing multi-dimensional, multinuclear solution and magic angle spinning (MAS) solid-state NMR data of spider silk proteins. NMR data will be combined with data from cryo-TEM imaging and tomography and MD simulations to begin connecting the atomic, molecular and nanometer length scales for an improved understanding of hierarchical silk formation. Extensive image simulation with dynamic models provided by computation will be integrated into the data analysis and interpretation. Basic Qualifications: •   A Ph.D. in physics, chemistry, materials science or related disciplines. •   Experience in solution and MAS solid-state NMR of proteins. •   Experience in analyzing NMR data with TOPSPIN, NMRPipe, Sparky, TALOS-N, CS-ROSETTA, etc. •   Experience in MATLAB programming to combine and analyze data sets from multiple techniques. Preferred Qualifications: •   Experience in cryo-TEM tomography of protein oligomers. •   Experience in MD simulations of proteins. Contact gholland@sdsu.edu for more info. ...

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Holland Lab Awarded DOD-AFOSR and ARO Grants to Study Spider Silk

The AFSOR grant is for 900K to investigate the hierarchical assembly process of spider silk and natural materials in general. The focus is on understanding the molecular and nanoscale design rules for spider silk proteins using a combination of NMR and cryo-EM methods in conjunction with molecular dynamics simulations. This work is being conducted in collaboration with Nathan Gianneschi's Lab and the University of Northwestern. The ARO grant is for is 365K to study aciniform spider silk as potential system for nest generation biomaterials for the US Army. Aciniform spider silk is the toughest of the spider silks and exhibits a unique cross-linking property where the silk converts from a flexible alpha helical fiber to a cross-linked b-sheet fiber when water treated. ...

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San Diego State Science Fair

Congratulations to high school students Jason Provol and Matt Bronars for their poster presentation “Metabalomic Analysis as a Method for Breast Cancer Diagnosis”, presented at the San Diego State Science Fair. They won top awards and the opportunity to represent San Diego at the Intel International High School Science Fair hosted in LA in July....

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American Chemical Society National Conference Presentations

The Holland lab will be presenting at the ACS Conference in San Diego. Dr. Holland’s Talk is titled “Molecular Mechanisms of Peptide and Protein Binding at Nanostructured Interfaces.” Haley Swanson’s Poster is titled “Elucidating the Structure & Assembly of Amino Acids on Silica Nanoparticles.” David Onofrei will be presenting a poster titled, “Investigating the unique structure and physical properties of spider prey wrap silk with electron microscopy and solid-state NMR.” The Title of Geri Polido’s poster is “Investigating the Interaction of GsMTx-4 with Lipid Bilayers Using 31P Solid-State NMR, Transmission Electron Microscopy, and Thermal Analysis” Work from our collaborators will also be presented by Dr. Geoffray Leriche on his poster titled, “Cyclohexane Rings Reduce Membrane Permeability to Small Ions in Archaea-Inspired Tetraether Lipids”....

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Geri Polido and David Onofrei will be presenting at (CSUPERB) Symposium

Congrats to Geri Polido and David Onofrei who will be presenting research posters at the Califonia State University Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology (CSUPERB) Symposium. Geri’s poster is titled “Investigating the Interaction of GsMTx-4 with Lipid Bilayers Using 31P Solid-state NMR, Transmission Electron Microscopy and Thermal Analysis” David’s Poster is titled “Structural Analysis and Characterization of Glandular Spider Silk Proteins.”...

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Dr. Holland will be presenting at Pacifichem Conference

Sponsored by the American Chemical Society and many similar organizations of nations in the Pacific, the 2015 International Chemical Congress of Pacific Basin Societies (Pacifichem) occurs every five years. Dr. Holland will be presenting his research on biomaterials at this conference in Honolulu, Hawaii titled, “Monitoring Spider Silk Assembly in vitro with NMR”....

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Haley Swanson will be presenting ACS Regional Conference

Congratulations to Haley Swanson who will be presenting her research poster, titled “Structural Elucidation of the Nano-Bio Interface: Histidine on Fumed Silica Nanoparticles”, at the American Chemical Society’s Western Regional Conference at CSU San Marcos. Dr. Holland will be talking on “Molecular mechanisms of biomolecule binding at nanostructured interfaces” at the ACS Regional Conference...

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Outreach At Gage Elementary School

Helping to spur interest in STEM fields early in life is an important part of our mission as researchers. In March, Dr. Holland gave a presenation at Gage Elementary in San Diego where students had the chance to see first-hand what research entails. Naturally, students were very excited by spiders shown during the presentation....

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ASU Travel Awards

The Holland group won travel awards to visit Arizona State University in late March. Dr. Holland receives CSUPERB Travel Award to visit ASU and collect solid-state NMR data for Holland Lab projects. Geri, David and Haley all receive SDSU Graduate Student Travel Awards to visit ASU and collect solid-state NMR data for spider silk, spider venom neurotoxin and nanomaterial projects. March 2015. The research conducted there will help advance all the current research projects on silica nanoparticles, spider silk, and spider venom....

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