Pharmacy Prof. Named Head of Drug Institute

U Professor Glen Hanson has become the acting director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, one of the National Institutes of Health.

Hanson’s specialty is psychostimulants, addictive drugs like amphetamines and cocaine.

“In addition to being a well recognized scientist, he’s one of the finest teachers at the school,” said William Crowley, chairman of the pharmacology and toxicology department.

Hanson founded and personally taught Common Medicines, a “very popular” general education course, Crowley said. He has been a U professor since the late 1970s.

Hanson has been on a leave of absence from the U, acting as director of the Division of Neuroscience and Behavior Research in Washington, D.C., since September 2000. On Dec. 1, he was named acting director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Despite his leave of absence, Hanson has had and will maintain a presence on campus. A tenured professor, Hanson still has a research lab and grants at the U, and has participated in graduate teaching even while in Washington. His lab investigates the basic science on the physiological mechanisms by which drugs of abuse exert effects on the brain, Crowley said.

Hanson was instrumental in helping to found the U’s Addiction Research and Education Center, which studies addictive diseases like alcoholism.

“Addiction research and education is now a main activity at the U,” Crowley said. “Having one of our professors in a national leadership role is very important for the future of that center.”

Hanson could not be reached in Washington for comment.