NIcholas M. Riley
Born and raised in Louisville, KY
B.S. in Chemistry and Psychology from the University of South Carolina, with Honors from the South Carolina Honors College
Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, advisor: Prof. Josh Coon
Incoming Assistant Professor at the University of Washington in 2023
My fascination with chemical instrumentation, especially mass spectrometry (MS), has remained persistent throughout my scientific career, and my postdoctoral work has sharpened my vision for MS innovations through the lens of needs within the glycoscience community. In my graduate work with Prof. Josh Coon at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I developed MS technology for proteomic applications, with an emphasis on a tandem MS method co-invented by Prof. Coon called electron transfer dissociation (ETD). I built custom instrumentation, methodology, and software to implement supplemental activation strategies (termed activated ion-ETD, AI-ETD) to improve ETD-based fragmentation across bottom-up and top-down proteomics, and my graduate work continues to impact research and MS instrument development efforts for peptide, protein, and post-translational modification analyses. My graduate research efforts culminated in large-scale N-glycoproteome characterization with AI-ETD, which opened my eyes to the world of glycobiology – where I saw opportunity and intrigue. My postdoctoral research with Prof. Carolyn Bertozzi, known for her transformative work in chemical glycoscience, has crystallized my commitment to interdisciplinary science that uses chemical tools to explore fundamental questions in biology. Here, I have focused on two areas ripe for discovery within glycoscience, yet in need of new technology: mucin-domain glycoproteins and the secretome. As an incoming Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Washington, I am now excited to devote my career to studying fundamental roles of glycosylation in cell surface biology through creative technology development.
I am defined by many things: my pride in being from Louisville/Kentucky, my love of all things South Carolina Gamecocks, my avid sports fandom across several teams and multiple sports, my passion for exploring new places, and my appreciation for a great street taco and fine glass of bourbon. The next time we cross paths, be sure to ask me about recent sports highlights that have me excited, where my last hike took me, what my favorite meal of the past month has been, what TV show has me distracted from writing this week, and whose concert most recently left me humming to myself at my lab bench. Regardless of where our conversation takes us, you will likely hear about my wonderful wife and my adorable chocolate lab puppy, both who keep this great adventure fun.