In Memoriam: Que Lan

LanUW-Madison entomology professor Que Lan passed away on March 7 in Madison after a sudden illness during treatment of gastric cancer. Lan joined the faculty of the Department of Entomology in 2001 and was affiliated with the Molecular and Environmental Toxicology Center since 2009.

Lan’s research focused on employing the tools of molecular biology to develop new ways to control insects.  She had a longstanding interest in understanding how insects metabolize cholesterol and successfully developed inhibitors to block this pathway.

She had major projects devoted to identifying novel insecticides from bacteria that kill or repel mosquitoes. Lan applied her skills in cellular biology to develop new ways to produce transgenic mosquitoes that could reduce vectoring of pathogens that cause human diseases such as malaria.

In a 2010 article in CALS’ Grow magazine, Lan noted that her research in this area was motivated in part by her experience of having contracted malaria as a child.

“Lan will be remembered for her scientific contributions and passion for discovery,” notes a memoriam statement prepared by her department colleagues. “Beyond science, she touched many lives professionally and personally as a colleague, mentor to students and staff, teacher and friend with intelligence, gravity, a sharp wit and sense of humor, and kindness and consideration of others in her daily interactions with all of us.”

Lan is survived by her husband, Dave Dyer, and their children Crystal and Hunter of Madison; her parents in Wuhan, China; and extended family. She was born in 1959 in Wuhan. She received her B.S. in Microbiology from Wuhan University. She went on to earn her M.S. in Biology from Brock University in St. Catharine’s, Ontario and her Ph.D. in Entomology from the University of Minnesota. Lan conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Washington in Seattle, followed by a faculty position in the biology department at the University of Northern Iowa, before joining the UW-Madison.

Memorial arrangements for Lan are in process and details will be available and posted in the coming weeks. For more information, please contact David Hogg, entomology department chair at or (608) 262-4060.