Dr Chris Holland ORCID iD logo

A picture of Dr Chris Holland

Research Interests

  • Rheology
  • Spider silk
  • Spectroscopy
  • Fibre Processing

Biography and previous work

Chris joined the department at the start of 2013 and is head of the Natural Materials Group, currently holding an EPSRC Early Career Fellowship. He is also the Chair of RAPS, an organisation for Recent Appointees in Polymer Science. Previously he was at Oxford where he undertook his BA in Biological Sciences, MSc in Integrative Biosciences, D. Phil and later a Fellowship By Examination (a.k.a JRF) whilst working in the Oxford Silk Group.

Chris’ research uses tools developed for the physical sciences to better understand Nature’s materials, from latex to collagen, but with a focus on silk. By investigating unspun silk’s flow properties he has been able to gain unique insights into their biodiversity, structure and evolution. Additionally, this work has made important links between natural and industrial fibre processing which has lead to a fundamentally new way of designing, testing and fabricating bio-inspired materials.

Current work

Today he combines multiple instruments with rheology, from microscopes (confocal) and spectrometers (IR) to synchrotrons (SANS at ISIS and SAXS/WAXS at ESRF) in order to understand exactly how silk proteins arrange themselves into one of Nature’s most impressive materials.

Key Projects

SPICE: Silk Processing In Controlled Environments: investigating the flow properties of silk and its natural processing. EPSRC Early Career Fellowship

SHARD: Silk in High Rate and Research into Damage Tolerance: understanding the biology and application of silks sonic properties and response to high rate impact (with Dr. C. Siviour and Prof. F. Vollrath Oxford) Leverhulme Trust

WISS: Why is Silk Spun? Integrating bio-rheology with advanced spectroscopic techniques: project for building combinatorial tools and training a next generation user of large scale facilities (i.e. ISIS, the ESRF and Diamond) EPSRC