Senior Lecturer

While my primary appointment is in the Plant Biology Department, I currently teach two NFS courses, Kitchen Science and Introduction to Biochemistry, and am proud to hold a secondary appointment in the Nutrition & Food Science Department.  I also teach intro biology (BIOL 001/002).  While my courses differ greatly, in each of them I strive to grab students’ interest, and show students how and why what they’re learning is directly applicable to their everyday lives and future goals. 

Kitchen Science, an integrated lecture-lab course I developed, explores the chemistry, physics, and biology concepts that explain why foods do what they do in the kitchen.  It’s an opportunity for me to merge my passion for teaching with my favorite hobby – developing recipes for baked goods and other sweet treats.  While my background is in cellular biology and virology, I’ve been a closet food scientist all my life.  Food is an amazing way to teach science because it makes seemingly abstract concepts so tangible.  I love watching the material we’ve discussed “come alive” for students in the lab activities and independent final projects.

Metabolism has always fascinated me because it explains so many different things: from why a gram of fat is more calories than a gram of protein or carbohydrate to why illegal diet drugs are so deadly to why athletes carbo-load.  In NFS 183, I have the opportunity to help students build a foundational understanding of the metabolic processes that answer these and many other nutrition-related questions.

Curricular innovation and redevelopment are also essential components of my teaching.  I am always on the lookout for new ideas to increase student engagement and investment in their learning.  My interest in curricular development is also reflected in my service responsibilities where I have been actively involved at the departmental, college, and University levels

Awards and Recognition

  • Carrigan Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and Advising, 2017
  • Nominated for Kroepsch-Maurice Excellence in Teaching Award, 2013 and 2015
Laura Almstead

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Promoting student engagement in large introductory science courses and curricula development, particularly focusing on teaching of biology and biochemistry


  • Ph.D. Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University , 2007
  • B.A. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Williams College, 2001


  • 808-656-2919
Office Location:

307 Jeffords Hall

Office Hours:

By appointment

Courses Taught

  • NFS 1072: Kitchen Science
  • NFS 2183: Introduction to BioChemistry
  • Biol 1400/1450: Principles of Biology