Dr Lisa Ryan is Head of Department of Natural Sciences at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), Ireland. Since arriving at GMIT in 2015 Dr Ryan has established new areas of study in Sport & Exercise Science and Public Health Nutrition and received Enterprise Ireland funding in 2017 to establish the Medicinal Nutrition thematic research group extending the capabilities of the MET Gateway at GMIT. She is currently leading two European Projects focused on Females in Food Entrepreneurship and Concussion Education and Awareness in Sport.
Dr Lisa Ryan holds a first-class honours degree in Nutritional Science and completed her PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry at University College Cork (UCC), Ireland investigating the role of cholesterol oxides in the development of atherosclerosis. Her first postdoctoral experience was an Enterprise Ireland-funded proof of concept project investigating the potential of phytochemicals as chemotherapeutic agents, involving a collaboration between the Chemistry department and the Nutrition department at UCC. She subsequently embarked on a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI)-funded postdoctoral research fellow on an SFI-funded grant led by Professor Nora O’Brien, UCC investigating the bioavailability of carotenoids.
Following her postdoctoral experience Dr Ryan moved to the UK to a Senior Lectureship in Human Nutrition at Bournemouth University before moving on to another Senior Lectureship at Oxford Brookes University in 2008 where she joined the Functional Food Centre, a research centre dedicated to the evaluation of the effect of functional foods on human health, and established the Phytochemical Research Group. In 2010 she was asked to take over the running of the Functional Food Centre as Operations Director and turned the research centre into one of the few profit-generating organisations within the University. Following her time at Oxford Brookes University Dr Ryan was invited to Monash University in Melbourne, Australia to help establish the BASE (Be Active Sleep & Eat) Research Facility and lead the Functional Food research stream.
Dr Ryan has attracted considerable research income in the area of phytochemicals and functional foods. To date she has worked with over 50 industry partners including small discrete projects and larger clinical trials and has also attracted research funding from competitive funding agencies such as the Medical Research Council (MRC, UK), The Nuffield Trust (UK), The Wellcome Trust (UK), DAFM (Ireland) as well as EU funding calls. In 2015 Dr Ryan was awarded the prestigious Agrifood Fellowship in Australia to investigate the potential of marine polyphenols as anti-diabetic agents. She is widely published in the area of functional foods and has given many invited national and international presentations.
Dr Ryan also has a very keen interest in Sport and Exercise Nutrition and outside of her formal academic role has worked as a sports nutritionist for a number of rugby, hockey and AFL teams. While in the UK, she worked with some of the triathletes and cyclists for the 2012 Olympics. Recent research projects have included a focus on understanding concussion across a range of sports. Dr Ryan returned to Ireland from Australia in 2015 to accept the post of Head of the Natural Sciences Department in the School of Science and Computing at GMIT.