Professor of Biology and Vice Chair
Office 2318 Spieth Hall
Phone (951) 827-4322
Ph.D., Yale University, 1996
**Effective January, 2017, Dr. Hayashi has moved to the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Click here.
Spider silks are among the most diverse and interesting of animal structural proteins. The large variety of silk types results from a multitude of uses, both within and between species. In addition to the huge diversity of spider taxa (they are one of the most species-rich of major animal groups), each individual produces as many as six or seven distinct varieties of silk from a battery of specialized glands. The different silks serve different purposes, ranging from web construction and prey capture to courtship and nest-building. The mechanical properties of silk -- elasticity, tensile properties, breaking strength, etc. -- are ultimately dependent on the sequence of amino acids that form silk proteins. Dr. Hayashi is interested in spider silks across many levels of biological integration, from the molecular genetics and evolution of the various silk genes to analyses of the protein sequences of different types of silk to biomechanical testing of the functional properties of the final product. Because of the unusually tight linkage between silk gene DNA sequences and functional ecology, these studies have easily understood connections to ecological, behavioral, and evolutionary questions.
Dr. Hayashi participates in the EEOB Graduate Program, as well as the Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology and Genetics, Genomics, and Bioinformatics Graduate Programs, and and IDEA, the UCR Institute for the Development of Educational Applications. In addition, she participates in the Evolutionary Biology Joint-Doctoral Program with San Diego State University.