Donna Ryan, MD, Recognized with George A. Bray Founders Award

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The Obesity Society Recognizes Donna Ryan, MD, for Significant Contributions to Obesity Research with the George A. Bray Founders Award

Awards Ceremony Takes Place at ObesityWeek, Nov. 11-16, in Atlanta


Nov. 12, 2013 - Atlanta, GA - The Obesity Society (TOS) recently announced Professor Emeritus Donna Ryan, MD, and Associate Executive Director for Clinical Research at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, as the recipient of its George A. Bray Founders Award. This award recognizes Dr. Ryan for her significant contributions to advance the scientific and clinical basis for understanding and treating obesity, and for extensive involvement with the Society. She has demonstrated an outstanding ability to pull people together to solve large, difficult medical problems.


Dr. Bray, founder of TOS, said himself that he does “not know such an efficient strategist as Donna and she does it with so much grace and enthusiasm that she always wins tough negotiations.”


“I am extremely pleased by the Awards Committee’s selection of Donna Ryan for this award,” said Harvey Grill, PhD, TOS President. “Dr. Ryan has made major contributions to clinical obesity research. Further, she has been an important contributor to our Society over many years serving as President and in many other roles. I salute Dr. Ryan for her significant work in obesity research and in the development of treatments to help improve the lives of those affected.”


Dr. Ryan received her MD from the LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans, where she also did her postdoctoral training in oncology. It was with her move to the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in 1988 that she shifted her research focus and scientific interests to the problem of obesity. While she was organizing a research program made possible through a grant from the Department of Defense, Dr. George Bray was appointed as the first full-time Executive Director for the Pennington Center, and Dr. Ryan's nearly 25-year research interest in nutrition and obesity began.


As a widely recognized research scholar in obesity, Dr. Ryan has served as a scientific advisor to such companies as Vivus, Eisai, Takeda, Novo Nordisk, Arena Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig, Sanofi-Aventis and Merck. Since 2000, she has been very active with TOS, including her tenure from 2007 until 2011 as a member of TOS Council and her time as President from 2009-2010. Currently Dr. Ryan serves as Associate Editor-in-Chief of Obesity, and represents the scientific community as a reviewer and advisor in many other capacities.


“I have been enormously fortunate to have been mentored by George Bray and exposed to superb scientists across the field of obesity research,” said Dr. Ryan. “ The major focus of my work has been translating the science of obesity into practice and I have enjoyed the support of the Department of Defense and the Louisiana State Employees Health Insurance Plan to put my ideas into action.”


Dr. Ryan was presented with the award at TOS’s Annual Scientific Meeting at ObesityWeekSM, Nov. 11-16, in Atlanta, GA. ObesityWeekSM is the premier annual scientific and educational conference for obesity professionals. This year marks the first year of the largest meeting of its kind dedicated to obesity research, treatment and prevention.  


TOS developed its named awards program more than a decade ago to promote, reward and encourage research in the field of obesity. Each year TOS, the leading professional society dedicated to researching, treating and preventing obesity, announces the five esteemed recipients of its named awards to recognize the honorees for their scientific achievements and contributions to the basic science, treatment and prevention of obesity. Find information about this year’s additional awardees online here.


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About The Obesity Society (TOS)

TOS is the leading scientific society dedicated to the study of obesity. TOS is committed to encouraging research on the causes, treatment, and prevention of obesity as well as to keeping the scientific community and public informed of new advances in the field. For more information please visit:


About Pennington Biomedical Research Center

The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the causes of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. It is a campus of the Louisiana State University System and conducts basic, clinical and population research. The research enterprise at the Center includes approximately 80 faculty and more than 25 post-doctoral fellows who comprise a network of 50 laboratories supported by lab technicians, nurses, dieticians, and support personnel, and 19 highly specialized core service facilities.  The Center's more than 500 employees perform research activities in state-of-the-art facilities on the 234-acre campus located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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