Richard W. Hanson was born in Oxford, New York. He earned a B.S. in biology from Northeastern University (1959) and an M.S. (1961) and Ph.D. (1963) in the biological sciences from Brown University. From 1963 to 1965 he was an officer in the U.S. Army and served at the Nutrition Laboratory, Fitzsimons General Hospital in Denver, Colorado. He was then a postdoctoral fellow with Sidney Weinhouse at the Fels Research Institute of the Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania until 1966. Hanson's postdoctoral research involved analyzing of the role of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase and pyruvate carboxylase in adipose tissue metabolism. He was appointed to the faculty at Temple University in 1966 and rose through the ranks to become a professor of Biochemistry in 1975. In 1978, Hanson moved to Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, where he was appointed professor and chairman of the Department of Biochemistry. He is currently the Leonard and Jean Skeggs Professor of Biochemistry at Case Western.
Hanson's career has been devoted to the study of metabolic regulation at all levels. In the late 1960s, he collaborated with F. John Ballard on studies of the control of gluconeogenesis in mammalian liver and lipogenesis in adipose tissue. This work was extended to include the first purification and analysis of the factors that control the turnover of the isoforms of the enzyme phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase in the liver. Hanson and colleagues discovered the pathway of glyceroneogenesis in adipose tissue. His work on the glyceroneogenic pathway was featured as a Journal of Biological Chemistry Classic (1). His major contribution to biochemistry, however, has been his pioneering application of molecular genetics to the study of metabolic regulation. Hanson and colleagues have extensively characterized transcription of the gene for the cytosolic form of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase.
In recognition of his achievements, Hanson received the Mead Johnson Award from the American Institute of Nutrition in 1995 and the Osborne Mendel Award from the same organization. He is also the recipient of the William C. Rose Award (1999) and the ASBMB-Merck Award (2006) from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He was the president of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 1999 and for the last 25 years has been an associate editor of the Journal of Biological Chemistry. He was awarded the Havorka Prize from Case Western Reserve University in 2001 and was the 250th Anniversary Distinguished Teaching Professor at Princeton University during the 2001–2002 academic year. Hanson was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies in 1987.
1. Kresge, N., Simoni, R. D., and Hill, R. L. (2007) The discovery of the glyceroneogenic pathway: The work of Richard Hanson. J. Biol. Chem. 282 (8)