Gonzaga University biology Assistant Professor Brook Swanson recently received a $148,000 equipment grant from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research to aid his research regarding high performance materials and biomaterials. Swanson’s research involving these materials will begin this summer.
The grant will enable Gonzaga University to purchase a machine that “allows us to measure with a great deal of accuracy how strong, extensible and tough tiny things like spider webs, insect exoskeletons, and snail shells are,” explained Swanson.
Swanson, whose primary field of research is physiological performance, will work with GU students and other faculty members in this project to examine “variation in the properties of materials like spider webs and insect exoskeletons.” The strength of some of these materials is impressive. Spider silk is nearly as strong as steel and much tougher, Swanson said.
Swanson, who earned a doctorate in biological sciences with distinction from Northern Arizona University, has worked as a researcher, lecturer and professor. He has been published in several journals, including Ecology, Evolution, the Journal of Experimental Biology and Physiological and Biochemical Zoology.
For more information, contact Swanson at (509) 323-6692 or via e-mail.