Riley obtained his BA from Stanford University in Philosophy and M.D. from the University of California, San Francisco. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and served in the Epidemic Intelligence Service at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He next served as Program Manager at the World Health Organization, assigned to India. He has also worked on international projects in many countries including Mexico, India, Bangladesh, Philippines, Brazil, Colombia, Romania, China, Japan, Thailand. He has published >280 peer-reviewed papers to date and two books (Molecular Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases: Principles and Practices; Slum Health: from the cell the street, co-edited with Jason Corburn). Riley is currently the Director of the Global Health Equity Scholars Program, funded by Fogarty International Center of the NIH. He is a fellow in the American Academy of Microbiology and of the Infectious Disease Society of America. In 2014, he was appointed by the US Secretary of Health and Human Services to serve as a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Center for Infectious Disease of the CDC.
Mechanisms of drug resistance in Gram-negative bacteria, molecular epidemiology of tuberculosis and drug-resistant Gram-negative bacterial infections, rapid diagnostic test development for drug-resistant Gram-negative bacterial infections, tuberculosis biomarker test development and validation, field epidemiology and global health research focused on diseases of urban slums.