Nicholas M. Riley

Incoming Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Washington

Lab doors open in Fall 2023

Follow updates at @riley_nm1 and @riley_research on Twitter

or and

Systems glycobiology enabled by innovations in mass spectrometry and chemical biology

About Nick


and Presentations

Leadership, Mentorship,

and Service



I am getting an opportunity of a lifetime: I will start as an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Washington in the second half of 2023. The Riley Research Group will explore questions about extracellular biology using mass spectrometry, glycoproteomics, and chemical biology. A major interest of ours will focus on glycocode regulation and dysregulation in cancer progression and metastasis.

We will be looking to bring staff scientists, postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduates to our team. If mass spectrometry, bioanalytical chemistry, glycoscience, and chemical biology sound like fun corners of the scientific universe for you to explore, please let me know how we can connect. You can reach me by leaving your information here.

About mY Research

The glycocode, or combinatorial patterns of glycosylation that relay biological information, functions in essential roles that govern human health and myriad diseases (e.g., cancer, infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases). However, we lack a fundamental understanding of the rules that define changes in glycosylation, which hinders insight in to how the glycocode contributes to biological function at a molecular level. Our perspectives on the glycocode remain deficient because the non-templated complexity of glycosylation creates analytical challenges that have severely limited our ability to study glycoconjugates. I aim to solve these challenges. I leverage my graduate training in mass spectrometry (MS)-based proteomics and my postdoctoral work in chemical glycobiology to develop innovative bioanalytical and chemical biology technologies to investigate essential principles of glycocode regulation and dysregulation. Specifically, I am interested in using cutting-edge technologies to understand how altered cell surface phenotypes (i.e., glycocalyx status) manifest in cancer progression and drive metastasis. Through a combination of MS-based multi-omics, bioinformatics, and chemical biology, my goal is to use a systems-level approach to glycobiology to further our understanding of human health and disease and advance therapeutic glycoscience.

SELECTED HONORS AND AWARDS (Full list available on CV, see link at the top)

2022 – 2023 NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00)

2016 – 2022 NIH National Cancer Institute Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Fellow Transition Award (F99/K00)

2021 Rising Star in Proteomics and Metabolomics (40 under 40), Journal of Proteome Research

2020 Selected as ASMS Emerging Talent in Academia, American Society for Mass Spectrometry

2019 ASMS Postdoctoral Career Development Award, American Society for Mass Spectrometry

2018 Richard and Joan Hartl Award for Research Excellence in Analytical Chemistry, UW-Madison

2017 FACSS Student Award, Federation of Analytical Chemistry and Spectroscopy Societies

2017 Roger J. Carlson Memorial Award for Research Excellence, Dept. of Chemistry, UW-Madison

2015 ASMS Graduate Student Award, American Society for Mass Spectrometry

2014 – 2016 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellow

2012 Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award (top undergraduate student), Univ. of South Carolina

2011 Presidential Volunteer Service Award, Gold Level (250+ hours), Office of President Barack Obama

2011 Wilson-Kibler Bicentennial Leadership Award, Univ. of South Carolina

2010 Phi Beta Kappa