Ryan is a professor at Colorado State University in the Radiation Cancer Biology and Oncology section of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences. She leads the Elizabeth Ryan Toxicology, Cancer Biology, and Nutrition Laboratory. Her research includes studying the complex interactions of food components with gut microbiota and the immune system. She has joint appointments with the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at CSU, the Colorado School of Public Health, and the University of Colorado Cancer Center. Ryan's laboratory collaborated with EMSL on metabolomics and metaproteomics for COVID-19 response work.