Edgar E. Hanna Jr., 79, who retired in 1999 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development as a senior microbiologist and scientific review administrator, died Dec. 1 at his home in Brookeville, Md. He had diabetes, dementia and Alz­heimer’s disease.

The death was confirmed by his wife, Norma Hanna.

Dr. Hanna was a postdoctoral fellow in immunology at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the late 1960s. A few years later, he joined the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and spent many years as a senior investigator in the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics.

From 1983 to 1990, he was a section chief in the Laboratory of Developmental and Molecular Immunity.

Edgar Ethelbert Hanna Jr. was a native of Hobson City, Ala., and served in the Army from 1953 to 1956.

He was a 1959 biology graduate of what is now Tuskegee University in Alabama. At the University of Minnesota, he received a master’s degree in microbiology in 1964 and a doctorate in microbiology and immunology in 1967.

His professional memberships included the Sigma Xi scientific research society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Microbiology, where he was a fellow and past board member. He was a charter member of the International Endotoxin and Innate Immunity Society.

Dr. Hanna had research papers published in the Journal of Microbiology and lectured at medical schools throughout the United States. He received an NIH award for sustained high-quality research and served as president of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s assembly of scientists.

Survivors include his wife of 52 years, Norma Rushen Hanna of Brookeville; two children, Monica Hanna of Kensington and Charles E. Hanna of Richmond; a sister; and two granddaughters. A daughter, Natalie Hanna, died in 2006.

— Adam Bernstein