Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)




Hannes Schniepp

Committee Members

Lizabeth Allison

Mark Forsyth


Spider silk neural guidance channels (NGCs) are highly important innovations in the field of regenerative medicine. This paper will discuss the evidence in the literature that supports their function in regenerative medicine and provide a template for future experiments in the field. While many studies within the past 15 years have demonstrated the validity of spider silk as a scaffold for peripheral nerve regeneration, the molecular mechanics that facilitate regeneration are poorly understood. An emphasis on using silk from orb weaving spiders in particular may have caused researchers to overlook other spiders whose silk could prove to have vastly different results when used in an NGC. Techniques to directly visualize the actions of nerve adhesion molecules are scarce, although there is some innovation in this field that may prove promising. There is also the issue of human trials, as these devices have not yet been proven effective in humans despite successful trials in rodents and sheep. Ultimately, despite its proven usefulness as a scaffold for nerve regeneration, more research is needed to determine what makes spider silk NGCs effective in this capacity.