College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Where am I now?
Theresa Hegmann is currently a clinical professor in the UI Department of Physician Assistant Studies and Services.
For Theresa Hegmann, biology is a family affair. Her father, Joe Hegmann, was a professor in the Department of Biology, and she remembers spending hours of her childhood in his lab, playing with lab mice, learning chess from graduate students, and helping to record data.
Hegmann decided to study biology at the University of Iowa (UI) and in 1984 joined the lab of Professor Jim Lin, where she assisted with research on cell motility. She gained valuable skills ranging from photography, to cell culture, to revising a manuscript, and also contributed to four papers of which three are first author publications. She forged close bonds with Professor Lin, whom she describes as an “amazing mentor and a sweet, sweet man,” and his wife and research assistant, Jenny, whom Hegmann came to see as a second mother. Hegmann also gave birth to her daughter, Natasha, during her time in the Lin Lab. As a baby, Natasha would nap in a drawer in the lab of her godfather, Biology Professor Steve Hendrix.
While she enjoyed the research she did, Hegmann discovered it wasn’t her “complete calling.” After working as a teaching assistant for a cell biology class and volunteering at the Iowa City Free Medical Clinic, she enrolled in the Physician Assistant Program at the UI. Hegmann later received her Master of Physician Assistant Studies degree from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 1999.
She currently is a clinical professor in the UI Department of Physician Assistant Studies and Services. Prior to that, Hegmann was a full-time clinical physician assistant for 10 years, and she has continued part-time clinical practice since joining the department, in the areas of family practice and urgent care. Hegmann is a 1983 National Merit Scholar, a UI Presidential Scholar, a 2002 Carver College of Medicine Teaching Scholar, the 2013 Iowa Physician Assistant Society (IPAS) Physician Assistant of the Year, and the 2015 recipient of the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) Research Achievement Award. “I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am if I hadn’t been in Professor Lin’s Lab,” she says. “I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity.”