Skip to main content
To KTH's start page To KTH's start page

My Hedhammar

Professor in Biotechnology

The development and fate of a cell is determined by its surrounding micro environment. The natural environment for a cell is three-dimensional but in research laboratories cells are today commonly cultivated on flat plastic surfaces. To retain its natural properties, the cell needs some kind of support similar to what is provided in the tissues in a body. 

My Hedhammar develops methods to combine cells into functional tissue in the lab. Her source of inspiration is the strongest material in nature, spider silk. A simplified variant of the protein that spiders spin their webs with can namely be transformed into a fibre network similar to the scaffolding that surrounds cells in tissues in a body. 

Cells need the support of fibres that are thin, strong and elastic, which are the exact properties spider silk has. With the help of modern biotechnology, it is also possible to equip the fibre network with tissue markers that the cells can attach themselves to. 

The Hedhammar research group has recently developed a method to with help of synthetic spider silk weave together several cells into a three-dimensional tissue-like structure at the lab. This means that different cell types can be combined into a model of a tissue, which can even contain functional blood vessels. For example, this method can be used to allow cancer cells to form tumours with surrounding tissue. Such models can be used in the drug development with the potential to replace animal trials. 

Belongs to: About KTH
Last changed: Apr 06, 2022
Anatoly Belonoshko
Ann Legeby
Aristides Gionis
David Rydh
Fredrik Viklund
James Gross
Jochen Schwenk
Jonathan Metzger
My Hedhammar
Mårten Ahlquist
Nina Wormbs
Peter Hedström
Sandhya Choubey
Shervin Bagheri
Tomas Karlsson