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.