Nicola Stehling

Biography and previous work

I grew up bilingually in Germany and moved to York after completing my Abitur (German A-levels). I completed my Master in Chemistry at the University of York, and as a part of the degree I have spent a year in industry with Cytec Solvay in a small research group, researching and developing bulk polymer materials for the aerospace industry.


Current work

Humans have a lot to gain and learn from spider silk, as it has remarkable mechanical properties while being spun in very mild and environmentally friendly conditions. However, unlike caterpillar silk, it cannot yet be mass produced without losing its unique properties.

I started my PhD with Cornelia Rodenburg and Chris Holland in September 2016 to investigate spider silk by low voltage electron microscopy, and to relate its diverse nano-structure to the silk’s mechanical properties.

This has the potential to lay out paths to new synthetic fibres and to improved fibre processing techniques.

Personal interests

I am a keen climber, and I love anything that is green and grows, especially orchids.


Research Interests
  • Spider silk
  • Low voltage electron microscopy
  • Polymers
External Links