Faculty Spotlight: Heather Hallen-Adams

Meet Heather Hallen-Adams, an associate professor of practice in food science and technology.
March 6, 2023

What is your position at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln?  

I am an Associate Professor of Practice in Food Science and Technology. 

What drew you to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln?  

They were hiring in my, somewhat specialized, field. I am a mycologist, a fungal biologist, and UNL Food Science was hiring a food mycologist. In the years before my hire, I had been working in Michigan State’s online MS program in Food Safety, teaching on mushroom poisons and mold toxins, and had become increasingly interested in the food safety and food microbiology fields, so it was a very good fit.  

What aspect of working in an educational setting do you enjoy the most?  

The variety! While I may teach some of the same classes every year or every two years, the content changes somewhat and the students and the overall personality of the class is always different. My job involves some research (on toxin-producing fungi infecting Nebraska crops, and on gut microbiome fungi), a lot of teaching (Food Microbiology, two fungal-centric classes, Intro to Food Science, and involvement in graduate and undergraduate seminar) and some administrative aspects, so there is always something new and different. 

What do you consider your greatest achievement?  

Thirty years after deciding, in high school biology, that I wanted to study poisonous mushrooms I have answered some of the questions I had then and am still able to work in the field. I was just appointed Toxicology Chair of the North American Mycological Association a few weeks ago and then I was at a mushroom foray attended by my undergraduate advisor and two amateur mycologists who had sponsored my attendance at my Very First Mushroom Foray and it kind of blew me away to be a colleague and a peer of these people after all this time. 

What is something that most people don't know about you?  

Well, everybody knows that I knit, and keep lizards... I am a reasonably competent pen and ink artist and once considered becoming a cartoonist. 

What is your life like outside of work? 

Knitting, lizards, reading and sipping tea while I knit with lizards along with mushroom hunting.  

Share to: