Riggs’ research focuses on analyses of gene, RNA and protein expression, function, and signaling that regulate or influence aspects of beef quality, skeletal muscle traits, and developmental processes in beef cattle, as well as whole genome sequencing of bacterial pathogens. She has additional interests in genome technologies and genetic modifiers of disease susceptibility and in the role of animal agriculture and biotechnology in ensuring food and nutritional security.
She holds an adjunct appointment in the Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. As associate vice president for research in the Division of Research, she supervises the Comparative Medicine Program.
Riggs is a member and past chair of the Public Policy Committee of the American Society of Animal Science. She was selected to serve as a senior advisor to the assistant secretary for policy, management, and budget of the US Department of the Interior. She previously represented the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences as a member of the Council of Principal Investigators, serving on the executive committee and as chair.
She led formation of the Research Development Fund Advisory Committee tasked with recommending investment targets for the Texas A&M research enterprise. She worked to improve genomics computational resources at Texas A&M and served as founding director of the Whole Systems Genomics multidisciplinary research initiative that evolved into the Texas A&M Institute for Genome Sciences and Society.
Riggs received a doctorate in molecular genetics from Texas A&M. She conducted postdoctoral work in the radiation biophysics lab as a Texas Aerospace Fellow at the University of Houston and the NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center.
She held postdoctoral and research faculty appointments in carcinogenesis at the research division of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Science Park, where she initiated and directed functional genomics and bioinformatics services for the National Institute of Environmental Health Science’s Center for Research on Environmental Disease.