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Margaret "Peg" Riley Margaret

Professor of Biology | University of Massachusetts Amherst


The focus of Peg Riley's research is in the area of microbial evolution - namely antimicrobial resistance evolution - and drug development.


Expertise (5)

Evolution of microbial resistance

Alternatives to antibiotics

Drug Discovery

Antimicrobial Drug Discovery

Antibiotic Resistance


An engaging speaker, Peg Riley is regularly called on to explain microbes and bacteria and her research on antimicrobial resistance evolution and drug development. She has been called on several times to appear with Bill Nye the Science Guy and has been a popular TED talk presenter.






Margaret Riley TEDx Talk


Education (3)

Harvard University: Ph.D.

University of Massachusetts: M.S.

University of Massachusetts Amherst: B.S.

Media Coverage (3)

Your Relationship (With Your Germs)

Science Rules! with Bill Nye Podcast  online


Microbial ecologist Peg Riley of University of Massachusetts Amherst returns to Science Rules to counsel listeners on their relationship with their microbiome.

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The Right Drug for the Right Bug

Science Rules! with Bill Nye Podcast  online


Antibiotics have changed the world and helped keep us healthy. But, the use of broad spectrum drugs have had some serious consequences. Bacteria and disease expert Dr. Peg Riley has some big ideas about bacteria and how to deal with these consequences. She's also here to set the record straight about how often you should be washing your hands and just how safe vaccines are.

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The Death of Antibiotics: We're Running Out of Effective Drugs to Fight Off an Army of Superbugs

Newsweek  print


The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 2 million people a year are sickened in the U.S. by bacteria or fungi resistant to major antibiotics, and that 23,000 die from them. "We need to make a huge investment in other approaches," says Margaret Riley, a drug-resistance researcher at the University of Massachusetts. "And we need to make it 15 years ago."

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