President and Founder

Dr. Margaret (Peg) Riley, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Biology, University of Massachusetts Amherst. She received her B.S and M.S. at UMass Amherst and her Ph.D. at Harvard University. Her first faculty position was 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 returned to UMass Amherst to join the faculty in 2004. Early in her academic career she received a Presidential Young Investigator’s Award for her pioneering research on antimicrobial compounds and has been continuously funded by NIH ever since. She has published over 100 articles and edited four books in her research area. In 2005 she co-founded a Massachusetts-based biopharmaceutical company, Origin Antimicrobials, LLC, involved in the design of novel antimicrobials, whose use results in reduced rates of resistance and reduced collateral damage to the healthy human microflora. In 2008 she created the Massachusetts Academy of Sciences, a non-profit organization whose mission is to increase levels of civic science literacy. She currently serves as the President of the MAS, and oversees science outreach programs that bring undergraduate science majors into the K12 classroom. In 2009, she co-founded the Institute for Drug Resistance, whose mission is to facilitate novel, multidisciplinary approaches to addressing the challenges of drug resistance and created a new Gordon Research Conference on Drug Resistance, which was launched in the summer of 2012. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and was recently elected to the Board of Life Sciences of the National Academy of Sciences.