Candido Diaz

Candido started studying architectural acoustics, then switched to sharks while getting a BA in physics and astronomy from Vassar College in New York. He currently works on the glue system of Cyrtarachne, a genus of spider that uses a derived orb web specialized to catch moths. He has discovered that Cyrtarachne glue has unique spreading properties that make it efficient at defeating the sacrificial layer of scales on moth wings. 

Candido enjoys playing ultimate frisbee and learning to salsa. 


Angela Alicea

I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Integrative Biology from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras.  There I worked doing undergraduate research with Dr. Ingi Agnarsson, studying biodiversity in island archipelagos in relation to geographical isolation and dispersal abilities of arachnids.

My work in the Blackledge lab examines diversification of silk properties in a radiation of spiders (Tetragnatha) in the Hawaiian archipelago.  Orb web architectures diversified in a rapid, predictable fashion during evolution of endemic Hawaiian spiders. My project aims to characterize their silk properties to test if biomaterials evolve as quickly and predictably as behaviors during adaptive radiation. This will provide important insight into the evolution of animal form and function and aid in the development of spider silk-inspired fibers and adhesives.


Daniel Maksuta

Daniel’s life is pretty normal. He’s still in Akron. He’s pretty sure his younger self wanted to leave far away; he doesn't know what happened since then. He blames science though. After Daniel got his BS in Chemistry with Polymer focus—right when he was thinking about leaving—he got accepted into the Biomimicry PhD program at The University of Akron.

Aside from considering how nature can solve problems, he does research on adhesion. In the past he did research on the glass transition—the moment a liquid becomes an amorphous solid. Daniel has a lot of interests, most of which center around the phenomenon of the universe. 

Daniel is working on spider egg sacs, trying to figure out how they deal with external stimulus, whether it is water, temperature, or force. He hopes to gain some insight into making non-woven materials from egg sacs.



Sarah Han

Sarah got her BS in Entomology from UC Davis, California, and worked in various lab jobs before deciding to become a better scientist by going to grad school. Though she has many interests, her current work is on different systems of arthropod biomechanics (triangle spider power amplification, Scytodes spitting, and self-righting in insects), and the shape/force/material associations within them. 

As a Biomimicry Fellow, Sarah hopes to use some of her research to come up with ideas for new innovations that are both useful and beautiful. One of her main hobbies is photography/videography, and she hopes to develop skills in these areas to better communicate scientific ideas.