5 questions with…award-winning professor, biochemist Richard Hanson

Richard W. Hanson may be an award-winning professor, a renowned biochemist and a four-time “Million Dollar Professor”—an award given by the School of Medicine in recognition of the numerous National Institutes of Health grants he’s received—but when it comes to realizing his goals, there’s still one he’s yet to achieve.

That may sound impossible, given Hanson’s résumé: As the Leonard and Jean Skeggs Professor of Biochemistry and a Distinguished University Professor, Hanson is renowned for his research in metabolism, having authored more than 260 publications and co-founding local gene therapy company Copernicus Therapeutics. In 2007, he made headlines around the world for development of PEPCK-Cmus mice—genetically engineered mice with greatly enhanced endurance.

Throughout the years, he’s earned local and national honors, including—but certainly not limited to—the Maurice Saltzman Award from Mt. Sinai Medical Center, the William C. Rose Award of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; induction into Cleveland Magazine’s Medical Hall of Fame; the ASBMB-Merck Award; and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Diabetes Association of Greater Cleveland. He is also a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science.

On campus, in addition to his Distinguished University Professor honor, he’s earned the Frank and Dorothy Humel Hovorka Prize; the Student Committee on Medical Education Faculty Teaching Award for Preclinical Teaching; the School of Medicine’s Special Medical Alumni Association Service Award; The Kaiser-Permanente Award for Excellence in Medical School Teaching, and the John S. Diekhoff Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching.

It’s a long list of honors for Hanson, who joined the faculty in 1978. So what’s the one goal that escapes him still? Check out question No. 3 below.

1. What superpower would you most like to have?
To be able to leap over tall buildings in a single bound.

2. What’s your favorite place to dine in Cleveland?
2425 North Park Blvd. Cleveland Heights, OH—my wife is a great cook.

3. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Joe DiMaggio, who else?

4. What accomplishments are you most proud of—personally and professionally?
Making it this far on such limited talent!

5. What’s your favorite thing about Case Western Reserve University?
Our students and my wonderful colleagues; they are great!

  • Hello Richard,
    It’s indeed a treat to have you as a colleague. Your modesty is reflected in your answers to the Five Questions, though you forgot to say what’s on the menu tonight at 2425 North Park Blvd. Cleveland Heights, OH !

  • I treasure my 4 years spent in Richard Hanson’s Lab. One of the two most positive experiences in my career. Thanks most sincerely.
    Patrick Leahy

  • Dr. Hanson, you were one of the best teachers I ever had (back in 1991). You were one of the reasons I pursued a career in science.
    Chris Ticknor

  • Awesome person…he has a unique way of personalizing everything he talks about.

  • Not mentioned is Richard’s banjo virtuosity (to which Bela will attest). He has helped keep a certain slice of American folksong alive and well.

  • Best prof I’ve had so far.

  • Richard is a rock star! In addition to being a fantastic scientist, he’s a wise mentor, inspiring teacher, and just a really nice guy.

  • Would you be interested in a brief discussion of new aspects of anaplerotic/cataplerotic reactions?

  • Dr. Hanson is the best professor I’ve had at CWRU so far, and I don’t expect that to change!

  • One of the best experiences in my life has been to work with Richard Hanson. Not only a great scientist, he is one of the best human beings
    I´ve ever met! THANK YOU!