Sue Kim Hanson, PhD, Lecture

Every year, The BUSM community convenes to celebrate the life of Sue Kim Hanson, an extraordinary BU Ph.D. student who died tragically with her husband and daughter on September 11, 2001. Sue was born in Los Angeles, California. She spent her early childhood in Korea, returning to Los Angeles at age 6. In 1989 she received a B.A. degree in biology and psychology from the University of California, Berkley. After graduation she worked for Cetus Corporation and was involved with early development of gene amplification by polymerase chain reaction. She moved to Boston and earned a M.A. in medical sciences from Boston University School of Medicine in 1992. After graduation, she joined the laboratory of Dr. Hardy Kornfeld in the Pulmonary Center at BUSM. While in the Kornfeld laboratory, she concurrently entered the Ph.D. program in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (immunology track) at BUSM. Sue’s thesis project was an investigation of the role of interleukin-16 in immunity.

On September 11, 2001, Sue was traveling to Los Angeles with her husband, Peter Hanson (BU School of Management ’94) and their two-year-old daughter, Christine Lee, on United Airlines flight 175, the second plane that struck the World Trade Center. Sue was scheduled to defend her dissertation in November of 2001. Her degree was awarded posthumously by unanimous vote of her thesis committee.

The BU community celebrates Sue’s joy for life and passion for discovery by inviting some of the most exciting scientists studying immunology and pulmonary biology to the BU School of Medicine for a lecture in her honor.


2023: Anuradha Ray, PhD, University of Pittsburgh, “Probing the Idiosyncrasies of Severe Asthma.”

2022: Gwendalyn J. Randolph, PhD, Washington University-St. Louis, “Outbound Traffic: The Dissemination of Cells and Molecules in Chronic Inflammatory Disease.”

2021: Kate A. Fitzgerald, PhD, University of Massachusetts, “Nucleic Acid Sensing Pathways; the Good the Bad and the Ugly.”

2020: Akiko Iwasaki, PhD, Yale University, “Immune Response to SARS-CoV-2.”

2019: Anne Sperling, PhD, University of Chicago

2018: Charles Dinarello, MD, PhD, University of Colorado, “Multifaceted Functions of the PD-1 Pathway.”

2017: Arlene Sharpe, MD, PhD, Harvard University, “Multifaceted Functions of the PD-1 Pathway.”

2016: Manolis Pasparakis, PhD, University of Cologne, “RIPK1 in Cell Death and Inflammation.”

2015: Jean-Laurent Casanova, MD, PhD, Rockefeller University, “Toward a Genetic Theory of Childhood Infectious Diseases.”

2014: Jack Elias, MD, Brown University, “New Concepts in Asthma – From Mouse to Man and Back Again.”

2013: Richard Locksley, MD, University of California San Francisco, “Exploring Allergic Immunity – New Cells, New Pathways.”

2012: Ruslan Medzhitov, PhD, Yale University, “Host Defense Strategies.”

2011: Brigitta Stockinger, PhD, National Institute of Medical Research in London, “Regulation of Interleukin-17 Mediated Immune Responses: From Controlled Inflammation to Autoimmunity.”

2010: Dan Littman, MD, PhD, New York University

2009: Luke O’Neill, PhD, Trinity College Dublin

2008: Laurie Glimcher, MD, Harvard School of Public Health

2007: Tom Maniatis, PhD, Harvard University

2006: Jonathan W. Yewdall, MD, PhD, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

2005: Peter C. Doherty, PhD, University of Melbourne

2004: Arthur Weiss, MD, PhD, of California

2003: William E. Paul, MD, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

2002: Brian Seed, PhD, Harvard Medical School

The Sue Kim Hanson Lectures are presented by the Pulmonary Center in conjunction with Medical Grand Rounds, supported by many generous contributions to the Sue Kim Hanson Lectureship Fund. We are very grateful to those who have supported this lectureship.