Interview with TOS Fellow – Donna Ryan, MD

Here are some questions and answers from our interview with TOS Fellow Donna Ryan, MD, Professor Emerita at Pennington Biomedical Research Center:

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Q: What is your title and organizational affiliation?

A: I am a Professor Emerita at Pennington Biomedical Research Center. I graduated from the LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans.

Q: Please tell us about your current work and your professional developmental trajectory.

A: I started in Clinical Oncology, transitioned to academic administration, and then got interested in clinical research in obesity. After 35 years in academic medicine, I retired from the University and now actively consult with industry and government.

Q: What is one of your professional or personal qualities that has contributed to your success?

A: Trustworthiness.

Q: What advice do you have for today's junior obesity researchers?

A: Work hard. Treat others with kindness, always. Remain calm when adversity strikes; you can get through this.

Q: What aspects of obesity research are the most exciting to you right now?

A: Advances in understanding the physiology of energy balance regulation. It's changing how we think about our patients and how we try to help them.

Q: What are your favorite things to do when you're not at work?

A: My absolute favorite thing to do is cook a special meal for a holiday or birthday and have all my family over to enjoy it. My specialties are grillards and grits (a brunch dish that is the crowd favorite), crawfish pie, gumbo, and shrimp creole, crab and corn bisque. I can also cook the traditional things like a huge roast turkey, wild rice with oysters, a whole filet of beef, potatoes dauphinois, veal roast and risotto. I always make too much food and my children fight to take home all the leftovers. The grandchildren run around the house, and it's blissful.

My second favorite thing is to take a nap on the sofa while Ed is watching golf. It's so boring, like watching the grass grow, and the announcers whisper to narrate. It's better than a sleeping pill.

I also love nature and enjoy hiking in the mountains or even walking along the Mississippi riverfront. When I travel, I always want to be in the countryside. Last week I took an early morning walk through the Tiergarten in Germany, and there were bunnies, foxes, swans, songbirds, dragonflies - all in the heart of Berlin!

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