Spider Silk: An Extraordinary Biomaterial
Known for its incredible strength and elasticity, possible human uses for spider silk currently range from the manufacturing of bulletproof vests, to the suturing of wounds, to the fabricating of elegant ball gowns, and on. But, how and why do spiders create and use this fascinating material in the natural world? And how can we possibly harvest tons of silk from spiders to use in the mass production of goods? To gain insight into these topics, come on out to the next Science under the Stars! (Caution: For those who are not arachnid-inclined, this talk will contain many images and video clips of spiders. Given that, we encourage anyone who is afraid of spiders to come learn more about these awesome creatures; perhaps we can convince you that they are, in fact, not so scary, and sometimes even adorable!).
Science Under the Stars is a free public outreach lecture series in Austin, Texas. Events start at 7:00pm outdoors at Brackenridge Field Laboratory, 2907 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, Texas 78703. Arrive early for refreshments and fun activities for kids of all ages! Guided tours of the field lab are available (wear sturdy shoes and bring water)!
Light Bright: Fluorescence and Chemiluminescence Lighting New Paths in Biology and Technology
Join us as Chintan Modi explores how scientists continue to find novel uses for biofluorescent and biochemiluminescent molecules and use them to gain insight into the inner workings of biology and chemistry! Science Under the Stars is a free public outreach lecture series in Austin, Texas.
In nature, we see organisms put on beautiful light shows, glowing through the use of specialized proteins. Proteins that glow are called biofluorescence and biochemiluminescence molecules, which were discovered over 50 to 60 years ago. These proteins with their unique properties have enabled us to visualize biological processes in a live cell and an organism. Today we can color each individual neuron of a mouse with different fluorescent proteins, or we can use fluorescent proteins to observe how pathogenic bacteria grow in a bio-film. The use of these light-producing biomolecules as biotechnology tools revolutionized the biological sciences in the past 20 years, which was recognized by the 2008 Nobel Prize in chemistry.
Chintan Modi is a graduate student in Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of Texas at Austin.