Sean E. Hanlon, Ph.D.


Sean E. Hanlon, Ph.D.Dr. Sean E. Hanlon is Acting Deputy Director of the NCI Center for Strategic Scientific Initiatives (CSSI) where he provides leadership in the planning, developing, and implementing initiatives with a focus on emerging areas of science with potential impact across the cancer research continuum. Dr. Hanlon is also the lead Program Director for the NCI’s Provocative Questions Initiative that aims to foster research in understudied areas. Additionally, he provides scientific leadership to collaborative transdisciplinary programs, including the NIH Common Fund’s 4D Nucleome program and the NCI’s Human Tumor Atlas Network. Dr. Hanlon also serves as a representative on NCI, NIH, and inter-agency committees, including Cancer Moonshot Implementation teams, the trans-NCI Data Sharing working group, and the trans-NCI Artificial Intelligence working group.

Prior to joining CSSI, Dr. Hanlon was a Program Director in the NCI Division of Cancer Biology where he managed a portfolio of grants focused on transcriptional and epigenetic regulation in cancer biology and served as Director of the Physical Sciences-Oncology Network (PS-ON). He led the scientific management and oversight of the PS-ON and worked to identify synergistic opportunities and foster new collaborations. He also managed the PS-ON Trans-Network Projects program and the PS-ON Data Coordinating Center which together leveraged the expertise of multiple teams to test new physical sciences-based cancer questions and fostered the sharing of PS-ON generated data.

Dr. Hanlon’s research interests focus on fundamental problems in chromatin organization, epigenetics, and transcriptional regulation. He came to the NCI in 2009 through the AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowship program. Prior to his selection as an AAAS Fellow, Dr. Hanlon was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he used genomics and bioinformatics approaches to address problems in transcriptional organization and regulation on a genome-wide scale. Dr. Hanlon received his PhD in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from Rutgers University in 2003 where his work focused on understanding how chromatin structure influences transcription and cell-cycle progression.