March 7, 2019

Vanderbilt mourns cancer researcher Stephen Hann

Stephen Hann, PhD, professor of Cell and Developmental Biology, died Feb. 27. He was 67.


by Leigh MacMillan

Stephen Hann, PhD, professor of Cell and Developmental Biology, died Feb. 27. He was 67.

Dr. Hann was born Dec. 11, 1951, in Beech Grove, Indiana. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1974 and his PhD from the University of California, Riverside, in 1981. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, he joined the faculty at Vanderbilt University in 1986.

Stephen Hann, PhD

Dr. Hann’s research focused on understanding the regulation and function of the Myc oncogene, which is thought to be a driving factor in up to 70 percent of human cancers. Mutations in the Myc gene are found in multiple types of cancer, including lymphoma and colon, breast and lung cancers. Dr. Hann’s research was supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and other agencies for 26 years.

Dr. Hann also helped develop the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology (CDB) and served in various roles, including interim chair, vice chair and most recently, director of Graduate Studies. He managed the department’s NCI training grant, “Integrated Biological Systems Training in Oncology,” which has supported more than 40 predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees from multiple departments. In 2018, Dr. Hann was honored with membership in the Vanderbilt Academy for Excellence in Education.

“Throughout his time at Vanderbilt, Steve was an active member of the CDB department, always looking for ways to improve our education training and mentoring programs,” said Ian Macara, PhD, Louise B. McGavock Professor and Chair of Cell and Developmental Biology. “I have greatly valued his commitment to CDB’s many graduate students. The department will not be the same without him.”

Dr. Hann is survived by his son, Trevor, who is a Vanderbilt CDB graduate student; mother Hilda Passage; sisters Kathy Hann, Karen Hann and Debbie Lundgren; numerous nieces and nephews; and his former spouse Camille.