Don E. Hemmes is Professor of Biology and Chairman of the Natural Sciences Division at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. A native Iowan, Don completed his undergraduate degree in Biology at Central College of Iowa and then traveled to Hawai‘i where he received his M.S. and Ph.D. in microbiology at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. After postdoctoral work at the University of Zurich, University of California at Riverside, and the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, he started his teaching career at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo in 1973.
Dr. Hemmes has received the University of Hawai‘i Regent's Excellence in Teaching Award, the Associated Students University of Hawai‘i Excellence in Teaching Award for the Natural Sciences, and the W. H. Weston Excellence in Teaching Award from the Mycological Society of America. He has also been recognized with the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Chancellor’s Excellence in Service Award, the Willard Wilson Distinguished Service Award for the University of Hawai‘i system, and the Dr. Hung Wo and Elizabeth Lau Ching Faculty Service to the Community Award. In 2000 he was named Professor of the Year for the State of Hawai‘i by the Carnegie Institute.
Dr. Hemmes’ research has extended from ultrastructural investigations of fungal spore development and germination to the systematics of Hawaiian fleshy fungi. He is widely published in national and international journals and has made numerous presentations at scientific conferences from China to Norway. He is coauthor of over 100 new fungal taxa. The highly acclaimed field guide, Mushrooms of Hawai‘i , coauthored with Dennis Desjardin from San Francisco State University was published in 2002 as a culmination of years of field work in the Hawaiian Islands. In 2004 he received the Chancellor’s Excellence in Research Award from the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and was named a Distinguished Fellow of the Mycological Society of America in their annual meetings in Asheville, North Carolina.