Current Lab Members

Peg Riley

Position: Principal Investigator/ Professor/President Massachusetts Academy of Sciences/Co-Director Center for Drug Resistance/Co-founder of Bacteriotix LLC

Lab Member Since: 1991

Dr. Margaret (Peg) Riley, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She received her Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1991 and joined the faculty at Yale University, where she was granted tenure and remained for 15 years while developing an internationally renowned research program in antimicrobial drug discovery. She has published over 100 articles and edited four books in her research area. Her early studies in microbial ecology and the evolution of antibiotic resistance suggested an alternative to the current paradigm of antibiotic drug discovery, one that recognizes the power of targeted approaches to therapeutic intervention, which result in lower levels of antibiotic resistance and reduced collateral damage to the healthy human microbiome. In 2009 Dr. Riley co-founded a biopharmaceutical company, Bacteriotix, whose mission is to provide proof of concept for this new drug development paradigm, with a focus on therapeutic interventions for catheter acquired urinary tract infections. In 2009, she co-founded the Institute for Drug Resistance, whose mission is to facilitate novel, multidisciplinary approaches to addressing the challenge of drug resistance and created a new Gordon Research Conference on Drug Resistance.

In 2008 Dr. Riley created the Massachusetts Academy of Sciences, a non-profit organization whose mission is to increase levels of civic science literacy. She currently serves as its President and oversees science outreach and education reform efforts aimed at engaging middle and high school students in independent research experiences and providing their teachers with professional development opportunities in inquiry-based teaching methods. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and recently joined the Board on Life Sciences of the National Academy of Sciences.

Raquel Perry

Position: Undergraduate Researcher

Lab Member Since: 2016

Raquel is an undergraduate Biochemistry and Psychology dual degree candidate in the Commonwealth Honors College at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She joined the Riley lab in her freshman year, spring of 2016. She is currently working on the Mycobacteria project, which focuses on identifying and characterizing bacteriocins in mycobacteria in the hopes of combating drug resistant tuberculosis and Mycobacterium abscessus infections.

Joshua Mallon

Position: Undergraduate Researcher

Lab Member Since: 2016

Josh is a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major in the Comonwealth Honors College at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He joined the RIley lab in his sophomore year, and started out on the mycobacteria project.

Kathryn Wright

Position: Undergraduate Resercher

Lab Member Since: 2017

Kathryn is an undergraduate Biology major with a minor in Anthropology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and joined the Riley lab in the fall of her sophomore year. She is currently on the Citrus Project, which focuses mainly on finding and purifying bacteriocins to act as a novel treatment to Citrus Greening Disease, which affects America’s Citrus Industries.

Griffin O'Driscoll

Position: Undergraduate Researcher

Lab Member Since: 2018

Griffin is an undergraduate Biochemistry & Molecular Biology major at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He joined the Riley lab in his junior year, spring of 2018. He is currently working on the Cyanobacteria algae bloom project, which focuses on identifying and characterizing bacteriocins in cyanobacteria to combat the harmful algae blooms that plague the largest freshwater lakes in America.

Hailey Charest

Position: Undergraduate Researcher

Lab Member Since: 2018

Hailey Charest is an undergraduate Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major in the Commonwealth Honors College at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She joined the Riley Lab her freshman year, spring 2018. She is currently working on a cyanobacteria Harmful Algae Bloom (HAB) project, which focuses on identifying cyanobacteria responsible for HABs in freshwater lakes across the country, and finding bacteriocins that are produced by cyanobacteria that could combat these HABs.

Sebastian Vega

Position: Undergraduate Researcher

Lab Member Since: 2018

Sebastian is an undergraduate Political Science major on the premed track at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. After joining the Riley Lab during the summer of 2018, he is now researching the agriculturally-devastating pathogen, Pseudomonas syringae, in an effort to impede the developing citrus greening situation and subsequently relieve economic stress from the agricultural market. Sebastian is also a proud member of the STEM Ambassador Program, which emphasizes the imperative need for ethnic and cultural diversity in a STEM community.

Matthew Mitchell

Position: Undergraduate Researcher

Lab Member Since: 2018

I am a Junior Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major on a Pre-Med track. I was one of the original founders of the Sigma Chi chapter here at Umass Amherst and I’ve served two terms as the Vice President. I love campus involvement as it has enabled me to work in a research lab each semester and summer that I have attended Umass.

Ania Amedee

Position: Undergraduate Lab Prep Assistant

Lab Member Since: 2018

Ania is a junior Public Health major with a Psychology minor and Social Work certificate on the Pre-Medical track at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She was excited to join the Riley Lab in the fall of her junior year. Currently, she is assisting in lab preparation for the Mycobacteria Project.

Darshana Blaise

Position: Undergraduate Lab Prep Assistant

Lab Member Since: 2018

Darshana is a sophomore biology major on the pre-medical track at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She was excited to join the Riley Lab in the fall of her sophomore year and continue building upon her interest in antibiotic resistance. Currently, she is helping out with the preparation of different laboratory mediums and bacterial strains while simultaneously studying the effectiveness of Xanthomonas bacteriocins.

Bryanna Lexus Freitas

Position: Undergraduate Lab Prep Assistant

Lab Member Since: 2018

Bryanna Lexus is an undergraduate Chemistry major pursuing minors in Biochemistry and Psychology in the Commonwealth Honors College at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She joined the Riley Lab her junior year, fall of 2018. She is currently a laboratory preparatory assistant and is working on the Cyanobacteria algae bloom project.

Andrew Romasco

Position: Undergraduate Lab Prep Assistant

Lab Member Since: 2018

Andrew is an undergraduate Bioinformatics major in the Commonwealth Honors College at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Previously in the Normark lab, he joined the Riley lab in the Fall of his sophomore year because he wants to change the paradigm of how bacterial infections are treated and to save lives. Andrew is currently working towards this goal by preparing media and making bacteriocin lysates to combat Pseudomonas syringae.

Jasmine Inim

Position: Undergraduate Lab Prep Assistant

Lab Member Since: 2018

Jasmine is a junior Public Health major on the Pre-Medical track at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is a member of the Commonwealth Honors College. She was excited to join the Riley Lab in the fall of her junior year. Currently, she assisting in lab preparation for the Mycobacteria Project.

Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer