Cheryl Hayashi

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Cheryl Hayashi
Alma materYale University
Known forStudying spider silk
AwardsMacArthur Fellow
Scientific career

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]


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. ^ "UCR Newsroom: Biologist Wins MacArthur Fellowship".
  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. ^ "TED2010: Speakers A-Z".
  9. ^ "Discovery: Roundup of TED2010, Session 2". 11 February 2010.

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