Richard W. Hanson

Richard Hanson headshot

Richard W. Hanson, PhD, the Leonard and Jean Skeggs Professor of Biochemistry, had a long and distinguished career in biochemistry and served nearly 40 years at Case Western Reserve University.  Hanson was renowned for his research in metabolism. Hanson received both the prestigious William C. Rose (1999) and the ASBMB/Merck (2006) awards from the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, as well as the Meade Johnson Award (1971) and the Osborne/Mendel Award (1995) from the American Institute of Nutrition for his research in metabolism. He also received the Maurice Saltzman Award from the Mt. Sinai Foundation, and the 2008 Lifetime Achievement in Diabetes Research Award (with Dr. Satish C. Kalhan) from the Diabetes Association of Greater Cleveland's Dietrich Diabetes Research Institute, for research in diabetes.

Hanson joined the faculty of CWRU in 1978. His career included two decades as chair of the Department of Biochemistry and co-founding local gene therapy company, Copernicus Therapeutics, Inc. Author of more than 260 publications, his research furthered the understanding of metabolic process. He gained international attention in 2007 with the development of PEPCK-Cmus mice—genetically engineered mice with greatly enhanced endurance.

Honors included the Case Western Reserve University Frank and Dorothy Humel Hovorka Prize (2001), induction into Cleveland Magazine's Medical Hall of Fame (2002), and the Alumni Association at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine Special Medical Alumni Association Service Award (2006). In addition, he held visiting professorships and delivered numerous guest lectures at prestigious universities around the country.  He was recognized as a Distinguished University Professor in August 2010.

Hanson was known as an outstanding lecturer and was the recipient of numerous teaching awards, including the Kaiser/Permanente Award, the John Diekoff Award, the Student Committee on Medical Education Faculty Teaching Award for Preclinical Teaching from Case Western Reserve University and the National College Senior Honor Society Top Professor Award. He was actively involved in teaching biochemistry to undergraduates at CWRU. His distinguished teaching career also included mentoring more than 80 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and visiting faculty. His first graduate student, Dr. Shirley M. Tilghman, has served as president of Princeton University.

Professor Hanson passed away on February 28, 2014 at the age of 78.