Utah State Today - University News

Utah State University Logo

ARTsySTEM: The Changing Climates of the Arts and Sciences

This exhibits showcases works of art that share a…


The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States

This exhibit showcases, for the first time, the…


Wetland Pond Walk -- Swaner EcoCenter

Come take a short wetland walk out to the frog ponds…


The Mystery of Edwin Drood: The Musical -- Lyric Repertory Company

This award-winning and wildly theatrical musical kicks…


What You Need to Know About Social Security Retirement Benefits

Interested in learning about social security retirement…

More events


Blogger Facebook Twitter You Tube RSS

Aggie USTAR Spider Silk Researcher Featured on CNN

Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2011

USU USTAR research Randy Lewis on CNN
USTAR professor Randy Lewis of USU's Synthetic Bio-Manufacturing Center is pioneering research on the manufacture of artificial spider silk. The ultra-strong, lightweight fiber promises multiple applications. He was interviewed on CNN Aug. 30
USU USTAR researcher Randy Lewis and goat
Lewis feeds a goat at USU's research farm. The goats were bred with two spider genes to produce two key proteins used to make spider silk. Those proteins are then harvested through the goat's milk.

Utah State University scientist Randy Lewis is getting a workout on the media circuit as news of his innovative spider silk research reaches all corners of the globe. The USTAR professor, who joined USU’s Department of Biology this past summer, was featured on CNN Newsroom’s The Big I — ideas, innovation, imagination — segment today [Aug. 30] via a live Skype interview from USU’s Logan campus. View a video of the interview.


In the segment, Lewis and Dutch artist Jalila Essaidi discussed a recent project in which Essaidi used the genetically engineered spider silk in a lattice of human cells in an attempt to create bulletproof skin. Though the manufactured skin failed to repel bullets fired at normal speed from a .22 caliber rifle, the scientists are encouraged by the results.


“It’s a start and it’s exciting to have opportunities to share our findings with a broad audience,” says Lewis, a member of USU’s Synthetic Bio-Manufacturing Center team.


During the past 20 years, Lewis has pioneered methods of mass producing artificial spider silk. By transferring silk-producing genes from spiders to silkworms, along with goats, E.coli bacteria and alfalfa, the molecular biologist and his team have developed “factories” capable of producing super-strong, lightweight fiber.


Future applications for the manufactured silk could include artificial tendons and ligaments, artificial skin to treat victims of severe burns and improved vehicle airbags, along with more effective and comfortable bulletproof clothing.


Lewis is slated to offer a public presentation of his research on USU’s Logan campus Friday, Nov. 4, as a featured speaker in Science Unwrapped’s ‘Modern Scientific Marvels’ series. His talk, at 7 p.m. in the Eccles Science Learning Center Emert Auditorium, Room 130, is free and open to all.


Related links:


Contact: Randy Lewis, 435-797-9291, randy.lewis@usu.edu

Contact: Jacoba Mendelkow Poppleton, 435-797-9608, jacoba.mendelkow@usu.edu

Writer: Mary-Ann Muffoletto, 435-797-3517, maryann.muffoletto@usu.edu

     email icon  Email story       printer icon  Printer friendly

Send your comment or question:

We welcome your response. Your comment or question will be forwarded to the appropriate person. Please be sure to provide a valid email address so we can contact you, if needed. Your response will NOT be published online. Thank you.

NOTE: Do Not Alter These Fields, they are used to limit spam: