LSU names interim executive director of Pennington Biomedical Research Center

A world-renowned obesity researcher and professor emerita at LSU’s Pennington Biomedical  Research Center has been named interim executive director of the institution.

In news release, LSU President F. King Alexander says Dr. Donna Ryan will step up to serve in the position after Pennington’s current Executive Director William Cefalu departs on Feb. 20.

Cefalu is leaving his post to take a position as the new chief scientific and medical officer for the American Diabetes Association. His departure was announced earlier this month.

“We are pleased to name Dr. Donna Ryan as the interim executive director at Pennington Biomedical,” Alexander says in a prepared statement. “She is well-respected among her peers and has the experience to lead Pennington Biomedical during the search for the next executive director. We look forward to working with her to continue the progress Pennington Biomedical has seen under Dr. Cefalu’s leadership.”

Ryan worked her way up at Pennington, serving as an associate professor, professor and then associate executive director for clinical research from 1988-2012. She is the current president-elect of the World Obesity Federation and associate editor-in-chief of the scientific journals Obesity Research and Obesity.

“Pennington Biomedical is a long-treasured feather in the cap of LSU and the state of Louisiana,” Ryan says in a statement. “I know firsthand just how unique and special a place it is. The researchers at Pennington Biomedical and the science they produce have been trusted and relied on for nearly three decades to improve health and nutrition here at home and around the world. I’m truly honored to be asked to return to a place that I love and, with the support of President Alexander, to serve LSU once again.”

Read the full announcement.

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