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Anna Rising

Anna Rising


About me

My basic degree is doctor of veterinary medicine, and I graduated from SLU in 2003. After working as a veterinarian a few years, I decided to get a PhD and joined an EU project, which aimed at producing artificial spider silk for medical applications. The project started with me going on an “adventure trip” to South Africa to collect 100 spiders in the wild. Since then, I am fascinated by this impressive material, and the spiders that produce it.

In 2007 I received my PhD, and soon after we started the company Spiber Technologies AB to commercialise our research findings. I was CEO from 2008 to 2012. In 2011-2017 I worked as an Assistant Professor at Karolinska Institutet, where I still work part time, and  as an Extension Specialist/Senior Lecturer in Translational Medicine at SLU. Since 2018 I am professor of veterinay medical biochemistry at SLU and in 2024 I was appointed Wallenberg Scholar.

Research and area of expertise

My research area and area of expertise include biomimicr, bioinspired materials, regenerative medicine, molecular biotechnology and medical biochemistry.

We can artificially synthesize spider silk fibers that are as tough as native spider silk fibers which makes them highly interesting as replacements for petroleum based (plastic) fibers. Our production method is biomimetic, meaning that it is completely water based and void of denaturing chemicals and high temperatures. We focus basic studies of the silk producing organs in spiders, on scaling up the production of artificial spider silk, develop fibers for the textile industry and use fibers and hydrogels for project related to regenerative medicine (tissue repair).

Photo: Andersson, Jia et al. Nature Chemical Biology 2017

In another project we study a specific part, NT, of the spider silk protein, which increases the solubility of the spider silk proteins when they are stored in the spider’s silk glands. The solubility enhancing properties of NT apply also when NT is fused to other proteins with low solubility. Therefore, we use NT to produce protein drugs, which today are difficult or impossible to manufacture.

The spider silk proteins we produce form transparent hydrogels when the temperature is increased to 37 degrees. This discovery is now being developed further in projects related to injectable materials and as aplatform for immobilizing different proteins in a 3D matrix (Arndt et al. Nat Commun. 2022; Arndt, Chatterjee et al. Adv Funct Mater. 2023)

Photo: Andersson, Jia et al. Nature Chemical Biology 2017

Current research

My research has several main focuses:

1.  To make artificial spider silk replicas.

2. To use spider silk to regenerate damaged tissue and to be able to culture stem cells under defined conditions

3. to use Nature’s own solubility increasing domain (NT) to develop poorly soluble proteins (drugs).

4. to explore how spiders spin their silk and make better biomimetic silk fibers and bioinspired solutions for the life science industry


Photo: Andersson, Jia et al. Nature Chemical Biology 2017



Research problems

How does the spiders' silk glands manage to produce extreme amounts of proteins and store them without encountering problems associated with premature aggregation?

Can we spin artificial spider silk fibers with the same mechanical properties as the natural spider silk fiber?

Can artificially produced spider silk be used as implants to replace damaged tissues and organs?

Can NT be used for the production of valuable and aggregation prone proteins with low solubility?


Film 1. Artificial spiderweb is made when a proteinKonstgjord spindeltråd som bildas när en proteinlösning sprutas ut i en buffrad vattenlösning. Publicerad av: Anna Rising & Jan Johansson (Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet & Karolinska Institutet). Källa: Andersson, Biomimetic spinning of artificial spider silk from a chimeric minispidroin, Nature Chemical Biology, 

Film 2. Konstgjord spindeltråd rullas upp på en roterande ram i luften. Publicerad av: Anna Rising & Jan Johansson (Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet & Karolinska Institutet). Källa: Andersson, Biomimetic spinning of artificial spider silk from a chimeric minispidroin, Nature Chemical Biology, 


The fibers are being collected onto motorized wheels, see movie published in Schmuck et al. Materials Today. 2021:



Photo: Andersson, Jia et al. Nature Chemical Biology 2017

My research colleagues

I share my time between the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and Karolinska Institutet (KI).

SLU: Sumalata Sonavane, Viktoria Langwallner, Tomás Bohn Pessatti, Gabriele Greco, Elin Karlsson

KI: Olga Shilkova, Urmimala Chatterjee, Benjamin Schmuck, Johan Reimegård


We work in close collaboration with Jan Johansson (KI) for protein biochemistry realted questions, and with:

Kristaps Jaudzems (LiOS, Riga), NMR spectroscopy

Michael Landreh (KI), Mass spectrometry

Yael Politi (Technical U of Dresden),  FIB-SEM, XRF, SAXS and WAXS

Lena Holm (SLU), histology

Nicola Pugno (Trento U, Italien), Native spider silk, mechanical testing of fibers


Spider silk has long been used in folk medicine. I aim to use spider silk in the treatment of diseases and injuries, for which there is no or poor treatment options available due to the lack of suitable materials. I also work to facilitate production of protein-based drugs together with a pharmaceutical company.

By close collaborations with national and international partners in industry and at universities, my research will benefit society at large.

Our research has been on public display at exhibitions at Nobel Museum in Stockholm, Arbetets Museum in Norrköping, Skansen Aquarium (Skansen-Akvariet), Sweden, the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, and Paris Natural History Museum, 2011-2012.

Photo: Marlene Andersson


I teach on the programme in Veterinary Medicine at SLU

Other professional activities

Founder, Spiber Technologies AB

Senior Researcher, Karolinska Institutet

Advisory Board, “Chemical Mechanisms of Life” a Center of Excellence at the Uppsala University

Current Funding

Knut och Alice Wallenberg Foundation (Wallenberg Scholar)

Europeiska forskningsrådet (ERC) Consolidator grant

ERC Proof of Concept grant



Knut och Alice Wallenberg Foundation (DDLS-WASP)

CIMED (Stockholms Läns Landsting, Huddinge Kommun, Karolinska Institutet)

Olle Engkvist Stiftelse

For details and past funding please check my ORCID, link can be found further down under Links

Read more

National News in SVT, Rapport, July 2021:

Dagens Nyheter, Aug 2021:

TV4 Nyhetsmorgon. Interview. Sep 15, 2017.är-du-nya-spindelmannen-3934570

BBC. Interview. Sep 2017.

RadioScience. Podcast. 2016.

Spinning like a spider. Academia Net. Interview Sep 11, 2017.

Silk gland mimic spins strong fibres. Nature. 541, 137. Jan 12, 2017. doi:10.1038/541137b


Selected publications

Arndt T, Chatterjee U, Shilkova O, Francis J, Lundkvist J, Johansson D, Schmuck B, Greco G, Ekblad Nordberg Å, Li Y, Wahlberg LU, Langton M, Johansson J, Götherström C, Rising A. Tunable recombinant spider silk protein hydrogels for drug release and 3D cell culture. Advanced Functional Materials. 2023.

Leppert A, Chen G, Lama D, Sahin C, Railaite V, Shilkova O, Arndt T, Marklund E, Lane D, Rising A, Landreh M. Liquid-Liquid Phase Separation Primes Spider Silk Proteins for Fiber Formation via a Conditional Sticker Domain. Nano Letters. 2023, 23, 12, 5836–5841.

Rising A, Harrington M. Biological materials processing: Time-tested tricks for sustainable fiber production. Chemical Reviews. 2023 Mar 8;123(5):2155-2199. 

Schmuck B, Greco G, Bohn Pessatti T, Sonavane S, Langwallner V, Arndt T, Rising A. Strategies for making high-performance artificial spider silk fibers. Advanced Functional Materials. Online Oct 10, 2023.

Arndt T, Jaudzems K, Shilkova O, Francis J, Johansson M, Laity PR, Sahin C, Chatterjee U, Kronqvist N, Barajas-Ledesma E, Kumar R, Chen G, Strömberg R, Abelein A, Langton M, Landreh M, Barth, Holland C, Johansson J, Rising A.  Spidroin N-terminal domain forms amyloid-like fibril based hydrogels and provides a protein immobilization platform. Nature Communications. 2022. 13(1): 1-14.

Arndt T, Greco G, Schmuck B, Bunz J, Shilkova O, Francis J, Pugno NM, Jaudzems K, Berth A, Johansson J, Rising A. Engineered spider silk proteins for biomimetic spinning of fibers with toughness equal to spider dragline silks. Adv Funct Mater. 2022. Mar 25;

Schmuck B, Greco G, Barth A, Pugno NM, Johansson J, Rising A.High-yield production of a super-soluble miniature spidroin for biomimetic high-performance materials. Materials Today. 2021.

Rising A & Johansson J.Doing what spiders cannot - a road map to supreme artificial silk fibers. ACS Nano. 2021. Feb 23;15(2):1952-1959.

Otikovs M, Andersson M, Jia Q, Nordling K, Meng Q, Andreas LB, Pintacuda G, Johansson J, Rising A, Jaudzems K. Degree of biomimicry of artificial spider silk spinning assessed by NMR spectroscopy. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2017. Oct 2; 56(41):12571-12575.

Andersson, M., Jia, Q., Abella, A., Lee, X-Y., Landreh, M., Purhonen, P., Hebert, H., Tenje, M., Robinson, C. V., Meng, Q., Plaza, G.R., Johansson, J., Rising, A. Biomimetic spinning of artificial spider silk from a chimeric minispidroin. Nature Chemical Biology. 2017 Mar;13(3):262-264

Kronqvist N, Sarr M, Lindqvist A, Nordling K, Otikovs M, Venturi L, Pioselli B, Purhonen P, Landreh M, Sjöberg L, Robinson CV, Pelizzi N, Jörnvall H, Hebert H, Jaudzems K, Curstedt T, Rising A, Johansson J. Efficient protein production inspired by how spiders make silk. Nature Communications. 2017 May 23;8:15504

Rising A, Johansson J. Towards spinning artificial spider silk. Nature Chemical Biology. 2015. May; 11(15):309-15.

Kronqvist, N., Otikovs, M., Chmyrov, V., Chen, G., Andersson M., Nordling, K., Landreh, M., Sarr, M., Jörnvall, H, Wennmalm, S., Widengren, J., Meng, Q., Rising, A., Otzen, D.,  Knight, S. D., Jaudzems, K., Johansson, J.  Sequential pH-driven dimerization and stabilization of the N-terminal domain enables rapid spider silk formation Nature Communications. 2014. DOI:10.1038/ncomms4254

Andersson M, Chen G, Otikovs M, Landreh M, Nordling K, Kronqvist N, Westermark P, Jörnvall H, Knight S, Ridderstråle Y, Holm L, Meng Q, Jaudzems K, Chesler M, Johansson J, Rising A. Carbonic Anhydrase Generates CO2 and H+ That Drive Spider Silk Formation Via Opposite Effects on the Terminal Domains. PLoS Biology. 2014 Aug 5;12(8):e1001921

Wu S, Johansson J, Damdimopoulou P, Shahsavani M, Falk A, Hovatta O,Rising A. Spider silk for xeno-free long-term self-renewal and differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells. Biomaterials. 2014 Oct;35(30):8496-502.

Lewicka, M., Hermanson, O., Rising, A. Recombinant spider silk matrices for neural stem cell cultures. Biomaterials, 2012. 33(31):7712-7717

Askarieh, G., Hedhammar, M., Nordling, K., Saenz, A., Casals, C., Rising, A., Johansson J., Knight S.D. Self-assembly of spider silk proteins is controlled by a pH-sensitive relay. Nature. 2010, 465:236-239.


Professor at the Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry (AFB); Division of Anatomy and Physiology
Telephone: +46709744888
Postal address:
Institutionen för anatomi, fysiologi och biokemi
Box 7023
Visiting address: VHC Huvudentré, Ulls väg 26, hus 5, plan 4, Uppsala

Publications list: