Margaret Foster Riley

  • Professor of Law, General Faculty
  • Professor of Public Health Sciences, School of Medicine
  • Professor of Public Policy, Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy
  • Director, Animal Law Program

Margaret (Mimi) Foster Riley teaches food and drug law, health law, animal law, bioethics, regulation of clinical research and public health law.

Riley has written and presented extensively about health care law, biomedical research, genetics, reproductive technologies, stem cell research, animal biotechnology, health disparities and chronic disease. She serves as chair of UVA's Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee and as legal advisor to the Health Sciences Institutional Review Board, which is responsible for reviewing all human subject research at UVA involving medically invasive procedures. She served on the National Research Council Committee on Revisions to the Common Rule for the Protection of Human Subjects and has advised numerous committees of the Institute of Medicine and the Virginia Bar.

Before coming to Virginia, Riley was an associate with Pepper Hamilton & Scheetz in Philadelphia, where she worked primarily in complex securities, commercial and mass tort litigation. Prior to that position, she was a litigation associate with Rogers & Wells in New York. Riley received her law degree from Columbia University and her bachelor of arts from Duke University.


  • J.D.
    Columbia University School of Law
  • A.B.
    Duke University

“CRISPR Creations and Human Rights,” 11 Law & Ethics Hum. Rts. 225 (2017).

"Implementing a Public Health Perspective in FDA Drug Regulation" (with Aaron S. Kesselheim and Patricia J. Zettler), 73 Food & Drug L. J. 221 (2018).
SSRN | HeinOnline (PDF)

“FDA’s Pathway for Regulation of FMT: Not So Fraught” (with Bernat Olle), 2 J.L. & Biosci. 742 (2015).

“Twenty-First Century Technology with Twentieth-Century Baggage: FDA Regulation of Regenerative Medicine,” in Holly Fernandez Lynch & I. Glenn Cohen, eds., FDA in the Twenty-First Century: The Challenges of Regulating Drugs and New Technologies 455 (Columbia University Press, 2015).

“An Unfulfilled Promise: Changes Needed to the Drug Approval Process to Make Personalized Medicine a Reality,” 70 Food & Drug L.J. 289 (2015).
HeinOnline (PDF)

“Whole-Genome Sequencing in Outbreak Analysis” (with others), 29 Clinical Microbiology Rev. 541 (2015).

Proposed Revisions to the Common Rule for the Protection of Human Subjects in the Behavioral and Social Sciences (with others) (National Academies Press, 2014).

“FDA Regulation of Antibiotic Use in Agricultural Animals,” Jurist, May 26, 2012.

“In Plain Sight: A Solution to a Fundamental Challenge in Human Research” (with Lois Shepherd), 40 J.L. Med. & Ethics 970 (2012). 

“Federal Funding and the Institutional Evolution of Federal Regulation of Biomedical Research,” 5 Harv. L. & Pol'y Rev. 265 (2011).
HeinOnline (PDF)

“How Should Ethics Affect FDA Regulation Of Genetically Engineered Animals?” Food & Drug Pol'y F., Vol. 1, No. 15 (August 2011). 

"Regulating Reproductive Genetics: A Review of American Bioethics Commissions and Comparison to the British Human Fertilisation and Embyology Authority" (with Richard Merrill), 6 Colum. Sci. & Tech. L. Rev. (2005). 

“A Critique of Human Cloning and Human Dignity: The Report of the President's Council on Bioethics,” 20 J.L. & Pol. 463 (2004).
HeinOnline (PDF)

Current Courses

All Courses

Germs and Justice: Law and Disease
Legal Research and Writing