Chris HollandDr Chris Holland

BA, MSc, D.Phil
EPSRC Early Career Fellow

Telephone: +44 (0) 114 222 5477
Fax: +44 (0) 114 222 5943

Address: Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Sir Robert Hadfield Building, Mappin Street, Sheffield, S1 3JD

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.

Research interests

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.
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. He is also a research associate of the Zoology Department at Oxford and sits on the scientific advisory board of Oxford Biomaterials which commercialises high-tech silk-based devices for a range of medical and non-medical applications.

Research group

Please refer to group website

Current 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

Key publications

  • 2014 Mortimer, B. Gordon, Shira D. Holland, C. Siviour, C. Vollrath, F. Windmill.J. The Speed of Sound in Silk: Linking Material Performance to Biological Function. access
  • 2014 Boulet-Audet, M., Terry, A., Vollrath, F. Holland, C. Silk protein aggregation kinetics revealed by Rheo IR. Acta Biomaterialia, 10 (2): 776-784 access
  • 2014 Bauer, G. Friedrich, C. Gillig, C. Speck, T. Holland, C. Investigating the Rheological Properties of Native Plant Latex. Interface 11, 20130847 access
  • 2013 Mortimer, B. Holland, C. Vollrath, F. forced reeling of Bombyx mori silk: separating behaviour and processing conditions. Biomacromolecules 14 (10): 3653-3659 access
  • 2013 Porter, D., Vollrath, F., Holland, C. The Science Of Silks. MRS Bulletin, 38 (1): 73-80 access
  • 2012 Drodge, D. R., Mortimer, B., Holland, C., Siviour, C. R. Ballistic Impact to Access the High-Rate Behaviour of Individual Silk Fibres, Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids 60 (10) 1710-21 access
  • 2012 Holland, C. Vollrath, F. Ryan, A.J. Mykhaylyk, O.O. Silk and Synthetic Polymers; Reconciling 100 Degrees of Separation Advanced Materials 24 (1) 105-109 access **Cover Article**
  • 2012 Holland, C. Urbach, J. Blair, D. Direct Visualization of Shear Dependent Silk Fibrillogenesis Soft Matter 8 2590-4 access **Cover Article**
  • 2011 Chaudhury, S. Holland, C. Vollrath, F. Carr, A. Comparing normal and torn rotator cuff tendons using dynamic shear analysis Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery 93-B (7) 942-948 access
  • 2011 Boulet-Audet, M. Vollrath, F. Holland, C. Rheo-Attenuated Total Reflectance infrared spectroscopy: a new tool to study biopolymers. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 13 3979-3984 access
  • 2007 Holland, C. Terry, A. Porter, D. Vollrath, F. Natural and Unnatural Silks. Polymer 48 3388-3392 access
  • 2006 Holland, C.A. Terry, A.E. Porter, D. P. Vollrath, F.V. Comparing the rheology of native spider and silkworm spinning dope Nature Materials 5 870-5 access **Cover Article**