Donna Ryan, MD is Professor Emeritus at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Her academic career began in Medical Oncology at LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans and her interests shifted to obesity research in 1988 when she transferred to LSU’s Pennington Biomedical.
Dr. Ryan’s research accomplishments include landmark studies of omega 3 fatty acids, and membership on the teams that developed the NIH-sponsored feeding studies, DELTA (Dietary Effects on Lipoproteins and Thrombosis in Atherosclerosis) and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). Dr. Ryan was an Investigator on NIH multicenter lifestyle intervention studies DPP (Diabetes Prevention Program) and POUNDS Lost, and Co-PI of Look AHEAD. Dr. Ryan worked with the Louisiana Office of Group Benefits to conduct LOSS (Louisiana Obese Subjects Study), a pragmatic clinical trial of intensive medical therapy for severe obesity conducted in six Louisiana primary care clinics. This work continues in a translational phase as HEADS UP!. Dr. Ryan was PI of a Military Nutrition Grant from 1988-2011 to develop improvements to soldier readiness, nutrition and health.
Dr. Ryan serves as co-Chair the panel to revise the NIH-sponsored evidence-based Guidelines on the Evaluation and Treatment of Obesity. Dr. Ryan is past President of The Obesity Society.
Dr. Ryan’s senior administrative experience includes service as Program Director of the LSU Internal Medicine Residency Program, and Vice Chancellor for Clinical Affairs for LSU Health Sciences Center, serving as Acting Chancellor in 1985. As Associate Executive Director for Clinical Research, Dr. Ryan established the its clinical research program, including inaugurating the IRB and Scientific Integrity Office. Dr. Ryan has extensive experience in financial management at an institutional level and experience in assuring stable funding from a variety of sources, including state government. Dr. Ryan was also an active mentor, and chaired the Clinical Mentoring Committee at PBRC and was a role model, in particular, for junior women scientists.
Dr. Ryan’s scholarly activities include authorship of more than 150 original publications and 45 books, chapters and reviews, primarily in the field of obesity. Dr. Ryan has served the scientific community as a reviewer and advisor in many capacities including the following: Invited Participant, NSF Medical R&D Expenditures Workshop 2006; National Dairy Council Review Team for Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, 2006; Invited Panel Member, American College of Sports Medicine Consensus Committee on Physical Activity on the Prevention and Treatment of Obesity 2000; NIH, NIDDK Study Section Sub-Chair: Obesity Nutrition Research Center Grant Review, 2002; Chair, Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB), NIH Grant, "Safety and Efficacy of Low and High Carbohydrate Diets,” 2002-2008, Member DSMB for EARLY Studies – 2010- present and reviewer for European Union Innovative Medicines Initiative, 2011-12. Dr. Ryan has served to interface academic and industrial components in addressing the obesity epidemic. Dr. Ryan has served as a scientific advisor and/or consultant to Knoll, Procter and Gamble, Novartis, TAP Pharmaceuticals, Abbott, Slim Fast, Solvay, Weight Watchers, Vivus, Arena, Sanofi-Aventis, Ajinomoto, Merck, Takeda, Novo-Nordisk and Scientific Intake.