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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Lab of Ronald T. Riley
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  Ph: (706) 546-3377
  FAX: (706) 546-3116

  Ph.D.  Oregon State University, Biology
  M.A.  California State University, Biology
  B.A.  University of California, Biology

 Ron Riley is a Research Toxicologist and Lead Scientist

 with the Toxicology and Mycotoxin Research Unit (TMRU),

 Athens, Georgia, USA. TMRU research supports

 Agricultural Research Service National Program 108 Food




Ron received his BA degree in biology from the University of California (Davis), and after a tour in the US Navy, he received his MA from California State University (Humboldt) and his Ph.D. from Oregon State University.  After a two year National Research Council post-doctoral research associateship with the US Environmental Protection Agency Ron was hired by USDA-ARS.


Since then has initiated, led, or coordinated 20 distinct research projects and has been Co-PI or Co-investigator on funded US-Army, USDA National Research Initiative, National Institute of Health, USDA-Foreign Agricultural Service, and US Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative grants.  Numerous graduate students, post-docs and visiting scientists have worked in Dr. Riley's laboratory and Ms. Jency Showker has coordinated all laboratory activities and provided creative input in study design and execution for 32 years. 


Dr. Riley's team discovered the mechanism of action of cyclopiazonic acid (CPA). CPA was the first reported specific inhibitor of the sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase which explains the effects of CPA on muscle activity in vivo.  In 1990 Dr. Riley established a collaboration with Dr. Al Merrill, Jr. at Georgia Institute of Technology that discovered that fumonisins are potent and specific inhibitors of ceramide synthase.  Fumonisin B1 was the first discovered naturally occurring inhibitor of de novo sphingolipid biosynthesis.  The discovery has led to four US patents, a biomarker of exposure in farm animals and humans, a mechanism based bioassay, a research tool for the study of sphingolipid metabolism and signaling pathways in animals and plants and in collaboration with Dr. Ken Voss, a new mechanism of nephrotoxicity. 


Currently, Dr. Riley collaborates closely with all the TMRU scientists and with scientists from Creighton University, Duke University and the Centro de Investigaciones en Nutrici?n y Salud (Guatemala) to evaluate the role of sphingolipids in the process of neural tube closure in humans.  Ron has served on JECFA, IPCS and IARC working groups and is currently adjunct faculty in the College of Public Health, the College of Pharmacy and the Interdisciplinary Program in Toxicology at the University of Georgia.

Lab Personnel 



     Jency Showker

     Biological Science Laboratory Technician

     Ph:  706-546-3176


Last Modified: 9/1/2016
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