Welcome to the Riley Laboratory

Our team engages in a variety of research, education and outreach projects:

Research - Antibiotic resistance has emerged as one of the greatest human health challenges of our time. There is an urgent need for novel solutions that will permit us to prevent or eliminate bacterial infections. Dr. Riley and her team of undergraduates have created a drug discovery pipeline that permits them to rapidly identify novel antimicrobials for use in human and animal health and agriculture. Their drug pipeline now includes candidates active against the pathogens that cause tuberculosis, pulmonary infections, urinary tract infections in humans, bovine mastitis,and several plant diseases, such as citrus greening, bacterial speck, bacterial blight, bacterial leaf spot.

Education - Dr. Riley offers several courses, including Quantitative Systems, which is a case-based introductory exploration of topics in ecology and evolution. She contributes to Biology of Social Issues, in which she helps students understand the importance of microbes in their daily lives. She also offers several CURES (course-based undergraduate research experiences) focused on topics that include antibiotic resistance and drug discovery. Each summer she hosts a team of high school students to help them gain experience in a microbiology lab environment - through the UMass Summer Programs Office.

Outreach - Dr. Riley is the founder of the STEM Ambassadors Program, an NSF funded program that seeks to increase levels of retention and graduation rates of STEM students and increase the number of students who enroll in graduate studies or pursue careers in STEM fields. Specifically, the program targets underrepresented groups including first-generation college students, students of color and those eligible for Pell Grants, all of whom are nationally underrepresented in STEM.majors. Dr. Riley is the founder and former president of the Massachusetts Academy of Sciences, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to raising the level of civic science literacy in the state. This organization engages in a wide range of science outreach activities, including hosting an annual meeting, visiting school classrooms across the state and engaging in science education reform efforts. She is also the co-founder of the Institute for Drug Resistance, which serves as a vehicle for facilitating, supporting and promoting novel, multidisciplinary approaches to the challenges of drug resistance.

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