Penny Riggs, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Animal Breeding & Genetics
Room 432 Kleberg
Dr. Penny Riggs is an associate professor of functional genomics in the Department of Animal Science. She is also a member of the Interdisciplinary Faculty of Genetics and an adjunct member of the Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences. She received a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s in cytogenetics from Purdue University. She was a Regents’ Graduate Fellow and received a doctorate in molecular genetics from Texas A&M University. She conducted postdoctoral work in radiation biophysics as a Texas Aerospace Fellow at the University of Houston and the NASA L.B. Johnson Space Center. She held postdoctoral and research faculty appointments in carcinogenesis at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center’s Science Park – Research Division, where she also directed functional genomics and bioinformatics services for the NIEHA Center for Research on Environmental Disease.
Dr. Riggs teaches Animal Science Senior Seminar, and ANSC 624, a graduate course in mammalian developmental genetics. She leads the NSF-funded Genomics & Society course that is team taught with colleagues in philosophy, geography, TAMU-Corpus Christi, and the University of Idaho. She also teaches GENE 681, a journal club class in genome structure and function.
Her research focuses on analysis of gene, RNA and protein expression, function and signaling relevant to the inheritance of production traits and disease susceptibility in beef cattle and other food animals. Past research addressed gene networks in skeletal muscle; genetic susceptibility to carcinogenesis; gene mapping and genome structure in swine, cattle, and river buffalo; production of transgenic mice and fish; and chromosome errors associated with equine and porcine infertility, and radiation and environmental insult.
Dr. Riggs served as founding director of the Whole Systems Genomics multidisciplinary research initiative. She also led a 10-month partnership with the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum to feature a public exhibit and seminar series on Genomics research.
She received the 2013 Faculty Award of Merit for Research from the Texas A&M chapter of Gamma Sigma Delta. She was recipient of the 2009 Vice Chancellor’s Award in Excellence for Team Research as a member of the McGregor Bovine Genomics Team. She received the Brigid G. Leventhal Scholar award in cancer research from AACR, and an Award of Excellence from the Purdue University College of Agriculture. Professional memberships include the American Society of Animal Science, American Genetic Association, Gamma Sigma Delta, International Society of Animal Genetics, and Texas Genetics Society.