CSE Public Lecture

Inventing Tomorrow

On Nov. 8, 2023, CSE hosted a special conversation between climate entrepreneur Nick Halla (ChemE '05; former senior vice president at Impossible Foods) and Distinguished McKnight University Professor Christy Haynes (chemistry department head, University of Minnesota). Thanks to those of you who joined us in person and online for an engaging and inspiring discussion. 


Inventing Tomorrow: Sustainability, Innovation, and the Future of Food

Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2023  
Doors open — 6 p.m.  
Program — 6:30 p.m.   
Northrop Auditorium, Best Buy Theater  
84 Church Street SE  

About the speakers

Photo of CSE alumnus Nick Halla

Nick Halla (ChE ’05)  

Nick Halla graduated from the College of Science and Engineering with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 2005. He has built his career leading sustainable technology development and commercialization. Nick joined Impossible Foods as its first employee and helped build the company from the ground up during his 11 years there. He held numerous senior executive roles at Impossible Foods including chief strategy officer, senior vice president retail, and senior vice president international. Halla also sat on the board of Kite Hill, which makes yogurt and cheese from almonds. Currently, Halla is working on new climate ideas, including a climate invention factory and business foundry, with the mission to rapidly decrease atmospheric concentrations of methane and carbon dioxide to change the trajectory of climate change. In addition, he is an independent board director at InnerPlant where they are transforming farming by enabling crops to communicate with growers and advising several sustainability driven companies.

Read more about his work at Impossible Foods in CSE Inventing Tomorrow magazine.

Christy Haynes (chemistry department head and Distinguished McKnight University Professor)

Photo of Professor Christy Haynes

Christy Haynes has been a faculty member at the University of Minnesota since 2005. She also serves as associate director of the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology and associate editor for the journal Analytical Chemistry. Haynes is an internationally recognized leader within the scientific community—and is one of the nation’s most talented analytical chemists. In 2018, she was one of only 173 scientists, scholars, and artists in the United States and Canada to receive the highly competitive Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. Haynes has built a unique research program that addresses questions at the interface of immunology, toxicology, materials science, and chemistry. Her training combines laser spectroscopy and nanomaterials characterization with electrochemistry and immunology. She earned her bachelor's at Macalester College and Ph.D. at Northwestern University.

Watch Christy's TED talk about using nanoparticles to improve crop strength, disease susceptibility, and yield.

Read more about her work in Minnesota—plus her collaborations with industry partners such as Ecolab and 3M, and her advocacy for diversity in higher education—in CSE Inventing Tomorrow magazine.

Questions about this event? Email us at csealumni@umn.edu




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