Ryan Institute Co-Director John Robinson named Thomas M. Ryan Professor of Neuroscience

The URI Foundation & Alumni Engagement (URIFAE) is pleased to announce that George and Anne Ryan Institute for Neuroscience Co-Executive Director John K. Robinson has been named Thomas M. Ryan Professor of Neuroscience. 

Dr. Robinson, who came to URI in 2018 from Stony Brook University, is a noted behavioral neuroscientist specializing in the use of rodent models to understand nervous system dysfunction and disease. In collaboration with Ryan Institute Co-Executive Director William Van Nostrand, he has made significant contributions to the understanding of modifiable risk factors for dementia, including the roles of diet, cardiovascular exercise, and cognitive and social stimulation.

In addition to his distinguished research achievements, Dr. Robinson is a highly regarded educator and mentor, receiving numerous teaching and service awards throughout his career. At URI, this work has included teaching and service roles in the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program, College of Health Sciences, College of Pharmacy, and Office of Research and Economic Development. 

The Thomas M. Ryan endowed professorship will provide continuing support for Dr. Robinson’s critical investigations into the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. The professorship was established by Tom ’75, Hon. ’99 and Cathy Ryan as part of a transformative gift in 2013 to create the George and Anne Ryan Institute for Neuroscience, a research center named for Mr. Ryan’s parents and dedicated to the eradication of neurodegenerative disease. 

“The Ryans’ extraordinary support for URI reflects the remarkable talent and potential of our faculty and students,” said Interim Provost Laura Beauvais. “We are grateful to be able to attract and retain faculty such as Dr. Robinson, whose contributions at the Ryan Institute have exemplified scholarship and leadership excellence.” 

A graduate of the URI College of Pharmacy and former president and CEO of CVS, Tom Ryan is a member of the University’s Board of Trustees and previously served as chair of the URIFAE Board of Directors. In 2019, the Ryans made a groundbreaking $35 million gift to URI, the largest in the University’s history, with $24 million earmarked to further Ryan Institute research. 

Approaching its tenth anniversary, the Ryan Institute for Neuroscience is now home to nine core faculty members, including Dr. Robinson, who investigate potential pathways to treat and prevent neurodegenerative and age-related disorders. The Institute also includes an affiliated network of URI faculty and collaborators at research and medical institutions around the world. 

“It is a tremendous honor to be named the Thomas M. Ryan Professor of Neuroscience,” said Dr. Robinson. “It represents to me my shared commitment with the Ryans to exploring vital questions about these devastating diseases, as well as to the growth and future of the Ryan Institute.”