Bethany Hannafon, PhD

Meet this month’s Member Spotlight, Bethany Hannafon, PhD, Assistant Professor at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Dr. Hannafon has been an ASIP member since 2016 and is a co-leader of the Breast Cancer Scientific Interest Group.

Bethany Hannafon, PhD


Dr. Hannafon completed her BS in cell and molecular biology from Oklahoma State University (Stillwater, OK). She continued on to complete her PhD in cell and molecular biology from Boston University School of Medicine (Boston, MA). She returned to the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center for her postdoctoral research focused on cancer drug development, extracellular vesicle signaling, microRNA signaling, and development of biomarkers.

Dr. Hannafon has received a number of awards, including the AACR Scholar-in-Training Award in 2015, the NRG Oncology Semiannual Meeting Travel Award in 2019, the ASIP Dani and Erik Zander Junior Faculty Scholar Award in 2020, and the Fred Sanfilippo-ASIP Visiting Lectureship Program in 2022. She also participated in the inaugural ASIP Leadership Academy in October 2022.


Future goals and aspirations for your career?

My future goals are to make novel and clinically relevant discoveries in the realm of breast and gynecologic cancer biology that can ultimately improve survival and outcomes for women diagnosed with breast or gynecologic cancers.

Where is the next place on your travel bucket list?

My husband and I are celebrating 20 years of marriage this year and plan to travel to Napa Valley in California to celebrate.

Who is someone who's made a big impact on your life? Why?

My longtime mentor and friend, Doris Benbrook, has made a big impact on my life.  She has mentored and supported me and my career for the past 19 years.  She encouraged me to pursue graduate education and encouraged me to return to Oklahoma, my home state to continue my career.  She modeled what it was like to be a mother and scientist and made me feel that having a career in science and being a mother was possible, at a time when there were very few examples. She also inspires me with her dedication to the pursuit of new therapies to improve the survival and outcomes of women with gynecologic cancers. She is truly passionate about her research and those she has mentored and is a living example of a successful woman scientist.