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About Todd A. Blackledge

My lab uses spider silks as a model system to explore how evolutionary processes interact across the biological hierarchy. We especially focus on the coevolution of behaviors and biomaterials in the function of spider webs. Silks are externally expressed proteins with incredible material properties that play essential roles in the survival of spiders. The biomechanical function of silk threads in webs, lifelines, and protective egg sacs are all closely tied to the molecular structures of their constituent proteins. The spider silk system provides an ideal opportunity to explore evolutionary interactions between silk genes, protein structure, biomechanical performance, and ecological function during the 400 million year history of this biological super-material. We also investigate how the exceptional material properties of spiders silks can be utilized in biomimetic applications ranging from synthetic muscles to new types of glues.


Present Professor, Department of Biology, The University of Akron

Curriculum Vitae


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Contact Information

Phone:(330) 972-7268
Office: ASEC E506


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