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 A scholarship honoring Dr. Raniyah Ramadan, a promising research scientist from Ada who passed away last July at age 34, has been established at East Central University.

The scholarship was established at the ECU Foundation Inc. by the Ramadan family through the Dr. Raniyah Ramadan Foundation. Her father, Dr. Tawfik Ramadan, provides campus health services for ECU students, and her mother, Siham Ramadan, is an ECU graduate. Three of her five siblings also are ECU graduates.

Recipients of the new scholarship will be ECU juniors or seniors who plan a career in research or the medical profession.

Raniyah Ramadan moved to New York in 2008 to pursue research in neuro-opthalmology at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. As a postdoctoral scientist, she was admired and respected by her colleagues.

“She was such a brilliant young scientist with so much to offer – a real pleasure to work with,” said her supervisor, Jingtai Cao. “Bright, enthusiastic, always smiling and caring for others, she was a lovely friend and a kind colleague to many who had the pleasure of knowing her and working at her side.”

Rajeev Wudall, another colleague, added, “Her death is a huge loss, not just for us, but the entire scientific world.”

After graduating from Ada High School, Raniyah Ramadan earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1998 and a master’s degree in public health in 2000.

She was a graduate research assistant in biomedical sciences at the OU Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City from 2001 to 2007 where she researched the pathogenic mechanisms of bacterial endophthalmitis. She authored and co-authored several articles for academic journals while completing a doctorate in neuroscience in 2007 at the Oklahoma Center for Neuroscience, part of OU’s College of Medicine.

“Raniyah faced all research and educational challenges head on, not relenting until she achieved her desired result,” said Dr. Beverley Greenwood-Van Meerveld, director of the Oklahoma Center for Neuroscience.

Upon graduation, Ramadan was awarded a prestigious post-doctoral research fellowship in ophthalmology and visual sciences at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. After completing the fellowship she moved to New York and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals where she worked on ocular disease models. She initiated the protocol for animal models of ocular inflammatory diseases that affect about two million Americans and also conducted the histology analysis for the company’s uveitis models in rats and mice.

She was an active volunteer with the Junior League of Oklahoma City and participated in the Boys and Girls Club Child Literacy Placement, providing meals and activities before and after school to inner city, underprivileged adolescents.

The Ramadan family established the Dr. Raniyah Ramadan Foundation to support her favorite charities as well as establish scholarships in the health sciences and promote neuroscience research.

To contribute to the Raniyah Ramadan Scholarship at ECU, contact the ECU Foundation Inc. at 580-559-5514.

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