Karen Ryan

Karen Ryan

Position Title
Associate Professor

Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior, College of Biological Sciences

Office- 1129 Life Sciences

Profile Introduction

Our goal is to elucidate neuroendocrine mechanisms by which environmental signals influence systemic metabolism, identifying new targets for therapeutic intervention in stress-related and metabolic disease.

Research Interests

Neuroendocrine regulation of feeding behavior, body weight and glucose control; Mechanisms linking psychological stress and metabolic disease

Grad Group Affiliations

  • Graduate Group in Nutrition (GGNB)
  • Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology
  • Neuroscience

Specialties / Focus

  • Endocrinology
  • Metabolic Physiology


  • NPB 101 Systemic Physiology

Honors and Awards

  • NHLBI Pathway to Independence Award (K99/ R00)
  • Cincinnati Center for Clinical and Translational Science and Training, Junior T1
  • NIDDK Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (F32)
  • NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant
  • Nominated for the Helmholtz- Nature Medicine Young Investigator in Diabetes (HEIDI) Award


    • 0 PhD Evolutionary Biology University of Chicago
    • 0 A.B. Biology Washington University- St. Louis


    Ryan KK, Packard AEB, Larson KR, Stout J, Fourman SM, Thompson AMK, Ludwick K, Habegger KM, Stemmer K, Itoh N, Perez-Tilve D, Tschop MH, Seeley RJ, Ulrich-Lai YM (2017) Dietary manipulations that induce ketosis activate the HPA axis in male rats and mice: a potential role for fibroblast growth factor 21. Endocrinology, in press.

    Larson KR, Russo KA, Fang Y, Mohajerani N, Goodson ML, Ryan KK. (2017) Sex Differences in the Hormonal and Metabolic Response to Dietary Protein Dilution. Endocrinology 158(10):3477-3487.

    Goodson ML, Packard AE, Buesing DR, Maney M, Myers B, Fang Y, Basford JE, Hui DY, Ulrich-Lai YM, Herman JP, Ryan KK. (2017) Chronic stress and Rosiglitazone increase indices of vascular stiffness in male rats. Physiology & behavior 172:16-23.

    Thompson AK, Fourman S, Packard AE, Egan AE, Ryan KK, Ulrich-Lai YM. (2015) Metabolic consequences of chronic intermittent mild stress exposure. Physiology & behavior 150:24-30.

    Kohli R, Myronovych A, Tan BK, Salazar-Gonzalez RM, Miles L, Zhang W, Oehrle M, Sandoval DA, Ryan KK, Seeley RJ, Setchell KD. (2015) Bile Acid Signaling: Mechanism for Bariatric Surgery, Cure for NASH?. Digestive diseases (Basel, Switzerland) 33(3):440-6.

    Ryan KK, Tremaroli V, Clemmensen C, Kovatcheva-Datchary P, Myronovych A, Karns R, Wilson-Pérez HE, Sandoval DA, Kohli R, Bäckhed F, Seeley RJ. (2014) FXR is a molecular target for the effects of vertical sleeve gastrectomy. Nature 509(7499):183-8.

    Ulrich-Lai YM, Ryan KK. (2014) Neuroendocrine circuits governing energy balance and stress regulation: functional overlap and therapeutic implications. Cell metabolism 19(6):910-25.

    Myronovych A, Kirby M, Ryan KK, Zhang W, Jha P, Setchell KD, Dexheimer PJ, Aronow B, Seeley RJ, Kohli R. (2014) Vertical sleeve gastrectomy reduces hepatic steatosis while increasing serum bile acids in a weight-loss-independent manner. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.) 22(2):390-400.

    Myronovych A, Salazar-Gonzalez RM, Ryan KK, Miles L, Zhang W, Jha P, Wang L, Setchell KD, Seeley RJ, Kohli R. (2014) The role of small heterodimer partner in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease improvement after sleeve gastrectomy in mice. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.) 22(11):2301-11.

    Ryan KK, Mul JD, Clemmensen C, Egan AE, Begg DP, Halcomb K, Seeley RJ, Herman JP, Ulrich-Lai YM. (2014) Loss of melanocortin-4 receptor function attenuates HPA responses to psychological stress. Psychoneuroendocrinology 42:98-105.

    Ryan KK (2014) Stress and metabolic disease. In: Weinstein M, Lane MA (eds.) Sociality, Hierarchy, Health: Comparative Biodemography. National Academies Press.

    Ryan KK, Seeley RJ. (2013) Physiology. Food as a hormone. Science (New York, N.Y.) 339(6122):918-9.

    Clemmensen C, Smajilovic S, Smith EP, Woods SC, Bräuner-Osborne H, Seeley RJ, D'Alessio DA, Ryan KK. (2013) Oral L-arginine stimulates GLP-1 secretion to improve glucose tolerance in male mice. Endocrinology 154(11):3978-83.

    Ulrich-Lai YM, Ryan KK. (2013) PPARγ and stress: implications for aging. Experimental gerontology 48(7):671-6.

    Ryan KK, Kohli R, Gutierrez-Aguilar R, Gaitonde SG, Woods SC, Seeley RJ. (2013) Fibroblast growth factor-19 action in the brain reduces food intake and body weight and improves glucose tolerance in male rats. Endocrinology 154(1):9-15.

    Wilson-Pérez HE, Chambers AP, Ryan KK, Li B, Sandoval DA, Stoffers D, Drucker DJ, Pérez-Tilve D, Seeley RJ. (2013) Vertical sleeve gastrectomy is effective in two genetic mouse models of glucagon-like Peptide 1 receptor deficiency. Diabetes 62(7):2380-5.

    Kohli R, Setchell KD, Kirby M, Myronovych A, Ryan KK, Ibrahim SH, Berger J, Smith K, Toure M, Woods SC, Seeley RJ. (2013) A surgical model in male obese rats uncovers protective effects of bile acids post-bariatric surgery. Endocrinology 154(7):2341-51.

    Ryan KK, Grayson BE, Jones KR, Schneider AL, Woods SC, Seeley RJ, Herman JP, Ulrich-Lai YM. (2012) Physiological responses to acute psychological stress are reduced by the PPARγ agonist rosiglitazone. Endocrinology 153(3):1279-87.

    Sandoval DA, Ryan KK, de Kloet AD, Woods SC, Seeley RJ. (2012) Female rats are relatively more sensitive to reduced lipid versus reduced carbohydrate availability. Nutrition & diabetes 2:e27.

    Chambers AP, Wilson-Perez HE, McGrath S, Grayson BE, Ryan KK, D'Alessio DA, Woods SC, Sandoval DA, Seeley RJ. (2012) Effect of vertical sleeve gastrectomy on food selection and satiation in rats. American journal of physiology. Endocrinology and metabolism 303(8):E1076-84.

    For additional publications prior to 2012 see: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=ryan%2C+karen+k