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Cheryl Y. Hayashi, PhD

4:00 PM — 6:00 PM

American Museum of Natural History

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Cheryl Y. Hayashi, PhD

Curator, Professor and Leon Hess Director of Comparative Biology Research
Director of the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics
American Museum of Natural History

Photo Credit: © AMNH/R. Mickens


4-5PM: Lecture & Audience Q&A
5-6PM: Networking & Cocktail Reception

Talk Title: “Caught in the Web: Unraveling the Complexity of Spider Silk Genes
Spiders are unparalleled for the many types of silks they spin. Spider silks are mostly protein and this presentation will focus on the genes that encode those proteins. Dr. Hayashi will trace the history of advances made in characterizing silks. Not only are spider silks remarkably diverse, but they also have remarkable mechanical properties with vast potential for human applications. For example, some types of silks are strong and tough fibers that would work well in high performance textiles and composites, while other silks are adhesives that resist hardening and have viscosities that can be modulated by humidity. As such, there is persistent demand for the mass production of silks, which requires knowledge of the underlying gene sequences. Spidroins (spider fibroins), the most abundant proteins in spider silks, have repetitive internal regions flanked by non-repetitive amino- and carboxyl-terminal regions. The terminal regions are integral for silk processing and fiber formation, while the repetitive regions are integral for fiber self-assembly and mechanical properties. Full characterization of spidroin genes has been challenging due to their great lengths and extreme repetitiveness. Dr. Hayashi and her collaborators have been combining transcriptomic, proteomic, large insert genomic cloning, target genome capture, and now with the New York Genome Center, whole genome sequencing, to determine the genetic blueprints for spidroins.
Dr. Cheryl Y. Hayashi is a Curator in Invertebrate Zoology, Professor in the Richard Gilder Graduate School, and Leon Hess Director of Comparative Biology Research, and the Director of the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics at the American Museum of Natural History. She earned her PhD in Biology from Yale, did postdoctoral research in molecular biology at the University of Wyoming, and was a Professor of Biology at the University of California, Riverside. Dr. Hayashi studies the functional genomics of adaptive molecules, with particular emphasis on the evolution and biomimetic potential of remarkable molecules produced by spiders. She is recognized as a pioneer in the study of silks and is a recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. Her integrative research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, Army Research Office, US Department of Energy, and Air Force Office of Scientific Research, among others.
To learn more about Dr. Cheryl Y. Hayashi, visit Google Scholar – Cheryl Y. Hayashi, PhD
Q&A Moderator:
Michael Zody, PhD
Senior Director, Computational Biology
New York Genome Center

    The New York Genome Center’s Evening Talks events feature distinguished experts from around the world sharing genomic insights and research. They are intended to showcase and explain high science to the non-scientific community. Speakers present the latest research findings and explain its implication for helping improve clinical care for a wide array of serious diseases. The lecture is followed by a lively question-and-answer session and a post-event reception of hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. These popular free public events are held in the Center’s state-of-the-art ground-floor auditorium starting at 6:30 pm. The Evening Talks Series is sponsored by The New York Community Trust – Pyewacket Fund.

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