Originally from Southern California, Ryan achieved a B.S. in Zoology from the University of California Santa Barbara before moving north and earning his doctorate from the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. He continued his training at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine first as an intern, then continuing as a Resident in Zoological Medicine and Surgery.
While in Tennessee, he provided veterinary care for a variety of facilities, including the Knoxville Zoo, Tiger Haven, Appalacian Bear Rescue, Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, and other zoo and wildlife organizations. For the third and final year of his residency program, Ryan came back to Southern California to work at the San Diego Zoo, and then earned his specialty certification as a Diplomate in the American College of Zoological Medicine.
After providing veterinary care at the San Diego Zoo, the Santa Barbara Zoo, and other California facilities, Ryan settled in the San Diego area and currently works at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, in addition to providing care for the animals at Lions, Tigers, and Bears. He routinely consults with other zoos and sanctuaries on a variety of cases, particularly exotic carnivores.