5 Questions with Faculty: Jan Halámek

Chemistry Professor Jan Halámek's son Honza seems to love being in a fishing stream as much as his dad does.  

ALBANY, N.Y. (Nov. 22. 2016) — Jan Halámek is a forensic chemistry professor in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Chemistry. A native of the Czech Republic, Halámek studied in Europe — at Masaryk University in the Czech Republic, Potsdam University in Germany and Twente University in The Netherlands. He came to UAlbany in 2013.

Halámek is widely known for his research on identifying gender and age based on fingerprints and blood residue left at crime scenes. Less well known is his love of fly fishing and trap shooting, and his affinity for cutting his own firewood.

Halámek enjoys some water time outside the lab.

What are your working on now?

Among other projects, I am currently working on a system which can determine how long is a fingerprint deposited on a surface. There are many different projects and some of them usually get exciting.

What made you decide to pursue your field?

I am naturally a curious person and my background is in biochemistry. I quickly realized that many systems I work with can be used not only in clinical diagnostics but, as we showed, also in C.S.I.

What’s your favorite class to teach?

This semester I teach a new Advanced Forensic Chemistry class that I developed and it is a very exciting time. We are trying to introduce our research into the teaching lab for students. I recently had some of my projects published and I’m having the students perform them in labs. I think it is pretty cool and I hope that the students enjoy it.

What’s the best thing about working at UAlbany?

The best thing is the students. We have an incredible student body with eager minds. Training young scientists and seeing them grow is an extremely rewarding aspect of my job as an educator and as a mentor.

Dinner tonight with anyone, living or not: Who, and why?

Without a doubt I would have dinner with my high school biology and chemistry teachers. Unfortunately they both passed away before I graduated. I think they would like to know where I am now and that they had a great influence on my life.

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