Queen of England Honors BOA Member Una S. Ryan

June 24, 2002

Tags: Awards + Announcements

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Britain's Queen Elizabeth the Second, in her Birthday Honors List, recently awarded Whitehead Board of Associates (BOA) member Una Scully Ryan, with the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her services to research, development, and the promotion of biotechnology.

Ryan is the President and Chief Executive Officer of AVANT Immunotherapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company engaged in the discovery, development, and commercialization of products that harness the human immune system to prevent and treat disease. AVANT Immunotherapeutics, Inc. is developing a broad portfolio of vaccines against viral and bacterial diseases, including single-dose oral vaccines aimed at protecting travelers from cholera, typhoid fever and other illnesses. In addition, the company is conducting clinical studies of a proprietary vaccine candidate for cholesterol management.

In addition to serving on the Whitehead BOA, Ryan currently serves on the Boards of both the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) and the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council.

Ryan, a leading researcher in the field of vascular biology who has contributed particularly to understanding of the control of blood pressure, spent her career from 1963 to 1989 in academia. She became Professor of Medicine at the University of Miami, where she was also a Howard Hughes Investigator and Chief of the Division of Vascular Biology. After joining the Monsanto Company in 1990, she maintained an academic appointment as Research Professor of Surgery, Medicine and Cell Biology at Washington University School of Medicine. In addition to her management role at AVANT Immunotherapeutics, which she joined in May 1993, Ryan is currently Research Professor of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine.

"This is a great honor, and I am delighted that my work as a scientific researcher, as well as my efforts on behalf of the biotechnology industry worldwide, have been recognized," Ryan said. Most recently, she has represented BIO in its efforts to help pass H.R. 3448, the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Response Act of 2002, and was recently present at the White House signing of that bill by President George W. Bush.

Ryan was born a British citizen in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and grew up and went to school in Oxford. She received her Ph.D. from Cambridge University (Girton College). She became a citizen of the United States in 1994.

King George V created the Order of the British Empire in 1917 during World War I to reward services to the war effort by civilians at home and servicemen in support positions. The Order is now awarded mainly to civilians and service personnel for public service or other distinctions in a wide range of useful activities including distinguished service to the arts and sciences. Citizens from countries outside of the United Kingdom may also receive an honorary award for services rendered to the United Kingdom and its people. There are more than 100,000 living members of the Order throughout the world.

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