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Advancing Research, Changing Lives

Thursday, May. 16, 2013

USU's Randy Lewis in his lab

In his USTAR lab on USU's Innovation Campus, Randy Lewis displays two recently published books — one for art aficionados, one for children — featuring his innovative synthetic spider silk research.

At Utah State University’s Sunrise Sessions, faculty and students share their research with alumni, community and business leaders from the Salt Lake area. Held quarterly in downtown Salt Lake City, these early-morning presentations detail how USU research is addressing pressing issues such as the obesity epidemic and hearing loss in children. Click here to view the entire library of USU Sunrise Sessions.

Utah State University USTAR researcher Randy Lewis was a featured speaker at USU’s Sunrise Session where he discussed the various ways spider silk can be used in various technologies. Spider silk has many potential uses including ligament and tendon repair, bulletproof skin, high-tech clothing, parachutes and airbags.

Lewis’ research focuses on the “ancient new” material of natural silks produced by spiders. In his presentation, Lewis gave an overview of his group’s work to reproduce those silks using a variety of different systems, including bacteria, goats, alfalfa and silkworms.

“We are working on ways to mass-produce innovative materials that are stronger than steel and stretchier than nylon,” Lewis said.

The innovative research has garnered press attention from around the world and commercial interest from numerous companies.

Upcoming Sunrise Sessions include College of Education and Human Services Researcher Maria Norton on Aug. 9, 2013 and Jon M. Huntsman School of Business researchers Cathy Hartman and Ed Stafford on Nov. 1, 2013.

Sunrise Sessions are sponsored by Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah and are free and open to the public.

Contact: USU Vice President for Research Office, 435-797-1180

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