Spider Silk

Spider Silk

Top of Mind with Julie Rose

Cuba Transition, Painkillers and Birth Defects, BYU Animation

Episode: Cuba Transition, Painkillers and Birth Defects, BYU Animation

  • May 6, 2015 9:00 pm
  • 19:22 mins

Guests: Randy Lewis, professor of Biology and director of the Lewis Lab at Utah State University Justin Jones, senior research scientist in the Lewis Lab. Their team’s research on producing sythnetic spider silk appeared recently in the American Chemical Society’s journal Biomacromolecules The amazing spider silk of Peter Parker’s superhero alter-ego was pure Marvel Comics invention and fodder for the daydreams of many a young boy. But spider silk really is tremendously strong and holds great promise for making everything from surgical tools to artificial tendons to safer airbags and better body armor. The trouble, of course, is training an army of spiders to spin their silk on demand. Enter researchers at Utah State University’s Lewis Lab. They’ve figured out how to make synthetic spider silk, but they’ve been stumped for a while on how to make enough of it to really be useful. Now they’ve cracked the problem and they’re on the line now to explain.