Philosophical Question: Do you need to know what is in the box, to think outside it…?
Paul R. Hanson graduated with a B.A. in chemistry from Luther College in 1985 and carried out undergraduate research for the late Adrian M. Docken. He went on to receive his Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of Minnesota, under the mentorship of Professor Thomas R. Hoye, where he worked on the total synthesis and structural elucidation of members and analogs of the Annonaceous Acetogenin class of natural products. As an NIH postdoctoral fellow at Stanford, he worked on cycloisomerization methods en route to vitamin D3 and analogs under the direction of Professor Barry M. Trost. His independent career started in 1996 as an Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas in the Department of Chemistry with a Courtesy appointment in Medicinal Chemistry. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2001 and became a full professor 2006. He is currently a co-Principal Investigator along with Tom Prisinzano and Audrey Lamb on an NIH-funded training grant in Chemical Biology (2007–present).
The long-term goals of his program center on the development of synthetic methods in the areas of organophosphorus and sulfur chemistry, heterocyclic chemistry, natural products, immobilized reagents, flow-through chemistry in collaboration with Professor Mike Organ, as well as high throughput chemistry for molecular library synthesis. Taken collectively, these efforts are aimed at advancing early phase drug discovery.