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Saturday, September 30, 2023

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Tugu Monument in front of Malang City Hall in Indonesia. (Credit: Annisa Alwita/Wikimedia Commons) Tugu Monument in front of Malang City Hall in Indonesia. (Credit: Annisa Alwita/Wikimedia Commons)

Kavli Fellow Travels to Indonesia

Chemistry professor Greg Holland will give a talk on biomimicry as part of the National Academy of Sciences Kavli Frontiers of Science program.
By Michael Price

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the spiders that Greg Holland encounters must feel very flattered indeed. The San Diego State University assistant professor of analytical chemistry studies the molecular structure of spiders’ silk and how they spin it.

Synthetic biomimicry, Holland’s field of study, aims to recreate the sturdy material for engineering purposes. For his achievements in this field, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences named Holland a fellow for its sixth Indonesian-American Kavli Frontiers of Science symposium.

"Dr. Holland's fellowship is not only a monumental honor for him as a scientist, but also a recognition of the role science can play in bringing countries closer together," said Chukuka S. Enwemeka, provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs at SDSU. "This achievement aligns with our university's commitment to being a premier research destination for top-tier researchers across the globe." 

International Collaboration 

At the event, which takes place Aug. 1 – 4 in Malang, Indonesia, Holland will participate in a research symposium organized around the idea of “green chemistry” and talk about his lab’s work using magnetic resonance imaging techniques to figure out the protein structures comprising spider silk.

In attendance will be other scientists primarily from Indonesia, Australia and the United States. The Frontiers of Science partnership with Indonesia arose from a White House initiative to strengthen scientific and technological ties with Muslim-majority nations.

In addition to sharing his lab’s findings and hearing about others’ work, Holland will use the trip as an opportunity to identify potential international collaborators. “One of the goals is definitely to meet and establish collaborations with Indonesian and Australian scientists,” said Holland, who joined SDSU’s faculty in 2015.

As a Kavli Frontiers of Science fellow, Holland will likely be involved in organizing future iterations of this conference and identifying rising stars who might someday become Kavli fellows themselves. Holland is SDSU’s second Kavli fellow. In 2011, computer science and biology professor Rob Edwards was a Kavli fellow for the Chinese-American Frontiers of Science symposium, hosted in Irvine, Calif.