Since its inception, ORU has continually challenged students to MAKE NO LITTLE PLANS HERE. Each year many ORU grads embark on the journey to fulfill this mandate. One student who followed his dream to fulfill this challenge has returned to ORU to teach students how to do the same.

Dr. William Ranahan, a 2005 graduate of the School of Science and Engineering, recently joined the ORU Biology and Chemistry Department as a professor of genetics and biology. In joining the faculty at ORU, William has the privilege of joining three professors who stood out in his career as a student: Dr. Sarah Myer, who helped ignite his interest in research; the department chair at the time, Dr. Hal Reed, who demonstrated compassionate excellence; and Dr. Ken Weed, who introduced him to the process of critical analysis of biological complexity. He is excited about the opportunity to not only fellowship with them again (minus Dr. Myer who left recently for missions) but to also work side-by-side with them.

Following graduation, William and his wife moved to Seattle where he worked for ZymoGenetics, a biotechnology company. They later moved to New Hampshire and then to Indiana where he worked as a technician in the BioChemistry/Molecular Biology department of the Indiana University School of Medicine.  While working in the lab with a biochemist engaged in experimental research, he began grad school to obtain his doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biology. His interest in the application of breast cancer to several different cancer types directed his research path and eventually led to the discovery of a potential novel target for breast cancer. His lab advisor wrote a grant and received $4 million to continue research. Through this research, the possibility exists to define a new target to treat numerous types of cancer.

William completed a PhD in BioChemistry and Molecular Biology in April, 2013 and began working in the Biology and Chemistry Department at ORU shortly thereafter. Working at ORU provided William the opportunity to follow another great passion-teaching-and also presented an unexpected opening to continue with the breast cancer research program. “We are actually set up here to do research. I wasn’t expecting that. We have the equipment and are currently securing internal funds. Oral Roberts’ dream was to bring healing and faith together here at ORU, to cure cancer.”

In addition to cancer research, William is an avid coffee lover and has combined his enthusiasm for science with his love for coffee in roasting his own beans and can talk about coffee for hours. He is also a bookworm and enjoys a variety of authors including: C.S. Lewis, Oswald Chamber, John G. Lake, J.R.R. Tolkein, George MacDonald, and Henri Nouwen to name just a few. He also enjoys spending time with his wife and two sons who are his joy and inspiration.

Remembering the impact his professors had on him and how the climate at ORU facilitates the mentorship process, which is essential to quality training in the science fields, were instrumental in William’s return to ORU.  Now, his goal is to provide this impact to and atmosphere for his students. “I want to teach students to do real cancer research, to develop that dialogue and to be led by the voice of God.  That is my passion.”

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