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EPASS (Expanding the Properties of Artificial Spider Silk)

What is the project about

Spider silk is a material with remarkable biological and mechanical properties. Unfortunately, the cannibalistic nature of spiders makes it impossible to harvest natural silk at large quantities, whereas artificial silk production has historically suffered from poor quality, low yields, and environmentally harmful protocols. Overcoming these limitations, Prof. Anna Rising (host) has recently developed a biomimetic spinning setup for generating high quality artificial silk fibres that uses water as the sole solvent and scales volume for economically feasible mass-production. Although remarkable, the fibres generated still require improved mechanical and electromagnetic properties to achieve their full potential in the envisioned biomedical and soft electronics applications.

Advancing Artificial Silk

By combining the host’s expertise in protein biochemistry and biotechnology with my skills in mechanical and materials engineering, EPASS aims to improve the mechanical and electromagnetic properties of artificial silk fibres by spinning fibres from protein solutions containing carbon nanotubes and magnetic nanoparticles. After establishing an optimized spinning protocol for the introduction of nanomaterials, a new generation of modified silk fibres will be spun and analysed morphologically, mechanically and electromagnetically, delivering a novel strategy for generating silk fibres with custom-made properties that are highly needed in the area of soft electronics. With additional expertise gained from a secondment and short-term visit, EPASS will create a strong foundation for state-of-the-art research and extensive knowledge sharing between researchers and organisations.

In summary

In summary, EPASS will integrate novel methodologies to create a new generation of scalable green materials with breakthrough potential in soft electronics, while simultaneously shaping a new research line – functionalized spider silk – which I will pioneer. Stay tuned for the news and updates!

People involved: Dr. Benjamin Schmuck, Prof. Maria Puerto Morales, Prof. Lucia Del Bianco, Prof. Federico Spizzo, Dr. Xin Wang

Sharing the Experience

On the 24/05/2023 I had the honor of participating as a speaker to “Navigating Brussels”, a crash course designed by Euro League for Life Sciences ( for young researchers. This course aims to bring many brilliant minds together, helping them creating their own career with the support of EU.

I did my part by sharing my experience in getting funds for young researchers (Horizon 2021-2022, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions), for which I truly have to thank Caroline GrabbeNinad Bondre and Anna Rising for they have been my mentors in this. Also thank to one of the organizer Patrik Toula for the splendid job done!

I believe that there is not better way to start my Horizon Europe project than sharing the experience gained while preparing the proposal.
Everything is about sharing! Motivating students and researchers is the key to have a successful and ethic research environment.

Do you want to know more on what is it like to write a MSCA application? Just click here!

The project has started

The first kick-off meeting of the project was incredible! Together with the group of Prof. Rising we went for a two days retreat and discussed Science. It is amazing how 8 people from all around the world (India, Brasil, Austria, Italy, Russia, and Sweden) meet and discuss scientific problems and how to solve them.

EPASS was part of it! We discussed how to solve the first problems that we expect to meet, based on our preliminary data.

We have already started the experiments, and we are looking forward to analyzing the data!

The first Spider Silk seminar for Young researchers

We are excited to announce the first Spider Silk Seminar for young researchers!

Sponsored by EPASS, this seminar aims to promote interdisciplinary knowledge about spider silk as a material.

Prof. Anna Rising, Dr. Benjamin Schmuck, and I have assembled a team of brilliant mentors who will share their expertise in various experimental techniques applied to spider silk materials.

We have over 35 participants from leading labs around the world in the spider silk community.

This seminar will lay a solid foundation for the future of spider silk research.

Check the program here:

Program Spider Silk Seminar for Young researchers

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