Margaret Foster Riley

  • Professor of Law, General Faculty
  • Dorothy Danforth Compton Professor, Miller Center
  • 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


Pain Management and the Opioid Epidemic: Balancing Societal and Individual Benefits and Risks of Prescription Opioid Use (edited with Richard J. Bonnie, Morgan A. Ford, Jonathan K. Phillips), National Academies Press (2017).

Book Chapters

Big Data, HIPAA, and the Common Rule: Time for Big Change?, in Big Data, Health Law, and Bioethics, Cambridge University Press, 251–264 (2018).
Twenty-First Century Technology with Twentieth-Century Baggage: FDA Regulation of Regenerative Medicine, in FDA in the Twenty-First Century: The Challenges of Regulating Drugs and New Technologies, Columbia University Press, 455-469 (2015).

Articles & Reviews

One Health Pandemic Prevention and Mitigation: The Role of FDA, 76 Food & Drug Law Journal 200 (2021).
A RAT by Another Name: 21st Century Cures Act and Stem Cell Therapies, 44 American Journal of Law & Medicine 291 - 308 (2018).
Implementing a Public Health Perspective in FDA Drug Regulation (with Aaron S. Kesselheim & Patricia J. Zettler), 73 Food & Drug Law Journal 221-256 (2018).
Revisit NIH biosafety guidelines (with Maureen O’Leary & Kenneth A. Oye), 357 Science 627 (2017).
CRISPR Creations and Human Rights, 11 Law & Ethics of Human Rights 225-252 (2017).
FDA’s Pathway for Regulation of FMT: Not So Fraught (with Bernat Olle), 2 Journal of Law & Bioscience 742-746 (2015).
Whole Genome Sequencing in Outbreak Analysis (with Carol A. Gilchrist et al.), 29 Clinical Microbiology Reviews 541-563 (2015).
In Plain Sight: A Solution to a Fundamental Challenge in Human Research (with Lois Shepherd), 40 Journal of Law, Medicine, & Ethics 970-985 (2012).

Reports & Datasets

Controlled Human Inhalation-Exposure Studies at EPA National Academies Press (2017).
Ethical Implications of Animal Biotechnology: Considerations for Animal Welfare Decision Making (with Fuller Bazer, Edna Eiseiedel & Paul Thompson), 46 CAST Issue Paper (2010).

Op-Eds, Blogs, Shorter Works

Can Biden fix the vaccine mess? An expert says yes, The Conversation (January 27, 2021).

Current Courses

All Courses

Germs and Justice: Law and Disease
Legal Research and Writing



Featured Scholarship