Genomics Pioneer Dies

Monica Riley, who led groundbreaking work studying the E. coli genome, has passed away at age 87.

By | November 7, 2013

MARINE BIOLOGICAL LABORATORYMonica Riley, an emeritus professor and co-founder of the Josephine Bay Paul Center for Comparative Molecular Biology and Evolution at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, worked throughout her career to better understand gene expression and microbial genomes. Last month (October 11), Riley died from heart failure in Richmond, California. She was 87.

According to an MBL obituary, after earning a degree in chemistry from Smith College in 1947, Riley completed a PhD in biochemistry at the University of California, Berkley, in 1960, where she studied gene expression in the lab of Arthur Pardee and collaborated with Francois Jacob and Jacques Monod on work “that contributed to the discovery of mRNA.” A stint as a postdoc at Stanford University led her to faculty appointments at University of California, Davis, followed by the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and finally the MBL, which Riley joined in 1992. Riley maintained her lab there—developing “classification systems for gene products and their functions, pioneering the current gene ontologies . . . and shaping the fields of functional and comparative genomics,” according to the MBL—until she retired at age 80.

Over at his Tree of Life blog, Jonathan Eisen, a professor of evolution and ecology and medical microbiology at the University of California, Davis, remembered Riley as a “wonderful person,” he wrote. “Among her many achievements, she was central to the annotation of the E. coli genome and in keeping track of all the studies that had been done on various E. coli genes,” continued Eisen.

Riley is survived by two children, two stepchildren, two grandchildren, her brother, and her half-brother.

(Hat tip: GenomeWeb)


Add a Comment

Avatar of: You



Sign In with your LabX Media Group Passport to leave a comment

Not a member? Register Now!

LabX Media Group Passport Logo


Avatar of: Dr Ichha Purak

Dr Ichha Purak

Posts: 17

November 8, 2013

Its my pleasure to pay tribute to such a great personality who spent and dedicated her whole life in studying microbial gene expression and genomics


Popular Now

  1. Sex Differences in the Brain
    Features Sex Differences in the Brain

    How male and female brains diverge is a hotly debated topic, but the study of model organisms points to differences that cannot be ignored.

  2. DNA Repair Pioneers Win Nobel
    Daily News DNA Repair Pioneers Win Nobel

    Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich, and Aziz Sancar have won this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work elucidating mechanisms of DNA repair.

  3. Antioxidants Facilitate Melanoma Metastasis
    Daily News Antioxidants Facilitate Melanoma Metastasis

    Two compounds boost the ability of melanoma cells to invade other tissues in mice, providing additional evidence that antioxidants can be beneficial to malignant cells as well as healthy ones.

  4. LabQuiz: Name That Neuron!
Life Technologies