Cheryl Hayashi

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Cheryl Hayashi
Photo of Cheryl Hayashi
Cheryl Hayashi in 2007
Born Hawaii
Nationality American
Fields biology
Alma mater Yale University
Known for Studying spider silk
Notable awards MacArthur Fellow

Cheryl Hayashi is a Hawaii-born[1] biologist who is curator, professor, and Director of Comparative Biology Research at the American Museum of Natural History.[2] Hayashi specializes in the genetic structure of spider silk.[3] A Yale alumnus, she was previously a professor at University California Riverside,[4] and was a 2007 MacArthur Fellow.[5]


Hayashi is a biologist who studied at Yale University, gaining a Bachelor of Science in 1988, Master of Science in 1990, and a Master of Philosophy in 1993.[2] She worked with Catherine Craig, including field work in Panama,[1] becoming interested in spiders when she had the job of hand-feeding the professor's colony of tropical spiders.[6]

She was awarded a PhD in 1996, with a dissertation on spiders' ribosomal DNA.[7]


Cheryl Hayashi, 2007

After working as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Wyoming (1996-2001),[5] Hayashi was a professor at UC Riverside from 2001 to the end of 2016.[4]

Her UC Riverside laboratory's work characterized spiders in the spidroin gene family, including how silk is encoded and studying the basis of molecular diversity in spiders. A variety of techniques, including whole-gene cloning, genomics, biochemistry, and biomechanics, were used to study the evolution of spider silk.[4] Hayashi worked with engineers and biomechanics to understand spider silk, and to develop biomaterials based on spider genetic information.[4]

Hayashi was a speaker at TED 2010 Conference.[8][9] She became curator, professor and Leon Hess Director of Comparative Biology Research at the American Museum of Natural History in January 2017.[2]


She was the recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship Program in 2007.[5]


  1. ^ a b Meserole, Rachel (26 February 2009). "Alumnus Profile: Cheryl Hayashi SM '88: "From Science Hill to Spider Silk Studies"". Yale Scientific. Yale University. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c "Staff Profiles: Cheryl Y. Hayashi". American Museum of Natural History. American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c d "Cheryl Hayashi". Biology UC Riverside. University of California Riverside. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c "Cheryl Hayashi: Spider Silk Biologist". MacArthur Fellows. MacArthur Foundation. 28 January 2007. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  6. ^ "Unraveling the wonders of spider silk". National Science Foundation Discoveries. National Science Foundation. 9 December 2008. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  7. ^ Hayashi, Cheryl (1996). Molecular systematics of spiders: Evidence from ribosomal DNA (Thesis 9635417 ed.). Yale University. pp. 414 pages. 
  8. ^
  9. ^

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