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Galya Orr

Biosystms Dynamics & Simula
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
PO Box 999
MSIN: K8-88
Richland, WA 99352


Dr. Galya Orr has initiated and is currently leading an effort that combines the development of imaging techniques with the investigation of the molecular processes of individual membrane receptors. Galya's effort has been focusing on time-lapse single-molecule fluorescence imaging and high sensitivity FRET analyses to study the molecular interaction dynamics of membrane receptors, and their intimate relationships with their membrane environment. Using the above techniques, nanoscale insights have been gained into the behavior and function of the ErbB receptors and associated proteins. Building on her experience in electrophysiology (see references at end of biography), Galya has been working toward simultaneous acquisition of single-molecule fluorescence and FRET imaging with single-channel current recording, for investigating structure-function relationships of ion channels. Using TIRF microscopy, Galya has also been leading an effort that aims at identifying the interactions, internalization pathways and cellular fate of specific nanomaterials.

Orr G, Rao G, Houston FP, McNaughton BL, and Barnes CA. 2001. "Hippocampal Synaptic Plasticity is Modulated by the Theta Rhythm in the Fascia Dentata of Adult and Aged Freely Behaving Rats." Hippocampus. 11:647-654.

Barnes CA, Rao G, and Orr G. 2000. "Age-Related Decrease in the Schaffer Collateral Evoked EPSP in Awake, Freely-Behaving Rats." Neural Plasticity 7(3):167-178.

Barnes CA, Meltzer J, Houston F, Orr G, McGann K, and Wenk GL. 2000. "Chronic Treatment of Old Rats with Donepezil or Galantamine: Effects on Memory, Hippocampal Plasticity and Nicotinic Receptors." Neuroscience 99(1):17-23.

Research Interests

  • Investigate silica nanoparticle-alveolar type II epithelial cell interactions to better understand the cellular fate of inhaled nanomaterials.
  • Study the spatial and temporal patterns of the EGF receptor interactions with its ligands and dimerization partners to better understand their function in the transformation of information across the cell membrane. Identified roles for membrane microdomains in receptor function.
  • Investigate the molecular interactions of the ErbB receptors, and the NMDA receptor that govern the formation and specificity of the glutamatergic synapse.
  • Previous work focused on the electrophysiology of learning and memory in the hippocampus of living animals. Identified electrophysiological correlates of the decline in cognitive functions during aging, and the involvement of the theta rhythm in synaptic plasticity.

Education and Credentials

  • Ph.D., Neuroscience, Division of Neural Systems Memory and Aging, University of Arizona, 2002
  • Ph.D. studies, Cell, Molecular and Neuroscience, Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Hawaii, 1993-1995 (transferred to University of Arizona)
  • B.S., Cellular and Molecular Biology, The Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, 1984

Affiliations and Professional Service

  • Biophysical Society since 2000
  • Society for Neuroscience since 1996

Awards and Recognitions

  • DOE Outstanding Mentor Award
  • Merit fellowship, graduate college, University of Arizona
  • Merit scholarship, graduate college, University of Hawaii
  • Dean's list of honors for scholastic achievements, Israel Institute of Technology

PNNL Publications


  • Howard-Varona C, S Roux, H Dore, NE Solonenko, KM Holmfeldt, LM Markillie, G Orr, and MB Sullivan. 2017. "Regulation of infection efficiency in a globally abundant marine Bacteriodetes virus." The ISME Journal 11(1):284-295.  doi:10.1038/ismej.2016.81
  • Lemmer KC, W Zhang, SJ Langer, A Dohnalkova, D Hu, RA Lemke, JS Piotrowski, G Orr, DR Noguera, and TJ Donohue. 2017. "Mutations that alter the bacterial cell envelope increase lipid production." mBio 8(3):Article No. e00513-17.  doi:10.1128/mBio.00513-17


  • Ford NR, KA Hecht, D Hu, G Orr, Y Xiong, T Squier, GL Rorrer, and G Roesijadi. 2016. "Antigen Binding and Site-Directed Labeling of Biosilica-Immobilized Fusion Proteins Expressed in Diatoms." ACS Synthetic Biology 5(3):193-199.  doi:10.1021/acssynbio.5b00191
  • Hua X, CJ Szymanski, Z Wang, Y Zhou, X Ma, J Yu, JE Evans, G Orr, S Liu, Z Zhu, and XY Yu. 2016. "Chemical imaging of molecular changes in a hydrated single cell by dynamic secondary ion mass spectrometry and super-resolution microscopy." Integrative Biology 8(5):579-666.  doi:10.1039/c5ib00308c
  • Melby ES, AC Mensch, SE Lohse, D Hu, G Orr, C Murphy, RJ Hamers, and JA Pedersen. 2016. "Formation of supported lipid bilayers containing phase-segregated domains and their interaction with gold nanoparticles." Environmental Science: Nano 3(1):45-55.  doi:10.1039/C5EN00098J
  • Mitchell HD, LM Markillie, WB Chrisler, MJ Gaffrey, D Hu, CJ Szymanski, Y Xie, ES Melby, A Dohnalkova, RC Taylor, EK Grate, SK Cooley, JE McDermott, A Heredia-Langner, and G Orr. 2016. "Cells Respond to Distinct Nanoparticle Properties with Multiple Strategies as Revealed by Single-Cell RNA-Seq." ACS Nano 10(11):10173-10185.  doi:10.1021/acsnano.6b05452
  • Proetto MT, CR Anderton, D Hu, CJ Szymanski, Z Zhu, JP Patterson, JK Kammeyer, LG Nilewski, AM Rush, NC Bell, JE Evans, G Orr, SB Howell, and NC Gianneschi. 2016. "Cellular Delivery of Nanoparticles Revealed with Combined Optical and Isotopic Nanoscopy." ACS Nano 10(4):4046-4054.  doi:10.1021/acsnano.5b06477
  • Zhang J, GN Presley, KE Hammel, JS Ryu, J Menke, M Figueroa, D Hu, G Orr, and JS Schilling. 2016. "Localizing gene regulation reveals a staggered wood decay mechanism for the brown rot fungus Postia placenta." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 113(39):10968-10973.  doi:10.1073/pnas.1608454113


  • Pomraning KR, S Wei, SA Karagiosis, YM Kim, A Dohnalkova, BW Arey, EL Bredeweg, G Orr, TO Metz, and SE Baker. 2015. "Comprehensive metabolomic, lipidomic and microscopic profiling of Yarrowia lipolytica during lipid accumulation identifies targets for increased lipogenesis." PLoS One 10(4):e0123188.  doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0123188
  • Dominguez GA, SE Lohse, M Torelli, C Murphy, RJ Hamers, G Orr, and RD Klaper. 2015. "Effects of charge and surface ligand properties of nanoparticles on oxidative stress and gene expression within the gut of Daphnia magna." Aquatic Toxicology 162:1-9.  doi:10.1016/j.aquatox.2015.02.015
  • Geng T, EL Bredeweg, CJ Szymanski, B Liu, SE Baker, G Orr, JE Evans, and RT Kelly. 2015. "Compartmentalized microchannel array for high-throughput analysis of single cell polarized growth and dynamics." Scientific Reports 5:Article No. 16111.  doi:10.1038/srep16111
  • Grate JW, KF Mo, Y Shin, A Vasdekis, MG Warner, RT Kelly, G Orr, D Hu, KJ Dehoff, FJ Brockman, and MJ Wilkins. 2015. "Alexa Fluor-labeled Fluorescent Cellulose Nanocrystals for Bioimaging Solid Cellulose in Spatially Structured Microenvironments." Bioconjugate Chemistry 26(3):593-601.  doi:10.1021/acs.bioconjchem.5b00048
  • Jacobson KH, IL Gunsolus, TR Kuech, JM Troiano, ES Melby, SE Lohse, D Hu, WB Chrisler, C Murphy, G Orr, FM Geiger, CL Haynes, and JA Pedersen. 2015. "Lipopolysaccharide density and structure govern the extent and distance of nanoparticle interaction with actual and model bacterial outer membranes." Environmental Science & Technology 49(17):10642-10652.  doi:10.1021/acs.est.5b01841
  • Mihai C, WB Chrisler, Y Xie, D Hu, CJ Szymanski, A Tolic, J Klein, JN Smith, BJ Tarasevich, and G Orr. 2015. "Intracellular accumulation dynamics and fate of zinc ions in alveolar epithelial cells exposed to airborne ZnO nanoparticles at the air-liquid interface." Nanotoxicology 9(1):9-22.  doi:10.3109/17435390.2013.859319
  • Murphy C, AM Vartanian, FM Geiger, RJ Hamers, JA Pedersen, Q Cui, CL Haynes, EE Carlson, R Hernandez, RD Klaper, G Orr, and Z Rosenzweig. 2015. "Biological Responses to Engineered Nanomaterials: Needs for the Next Decade." ACS Central Science 1(3):117-123.  doi:10.1021/acscentsci.5b00182
  • Sontag RL, C Mihai, G Orr, A Savchenko, T Skarina, H Cui, JR Cort, JN Adkins, and RN Brown. 2015. "Electroporation of Functional Bacterial Effectors into Mammalian Cells." Journal of Visualized Experiments 95:Article No. e52296.  doi:10.3791/52296
  • Szymanski CJ, P Munusamy, C Mihai, Y Xie, D Hu, MK Gilles, T Tyliszczak, S Thevuthasan, DR Baer, and G Orr. 2015. "Shifts in oxidation states of cerium oxide nanoparticles detected inside intact hydrated cells and organelles." Biomaterials 62:147-154.  doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2015.05.042
  • Troiano J, LL Olenick, TR Kuech, ES Melby, D Hu, SE Lohse, AC Mensch, M Dogangun, AM Vartanian, M Torelli, E Ehimiaghe, SR Walter, L Fu, CR Anderton, Z Zhu, H Wang, G Orr, C Murphy, RJ Hamers, JA Pedersen, and FM Geiger. 2015. "Direct Probes of 4 nm Diameter Gold Nanoparticles Interacting with Supported Lipid Bylayers." Journal of Physical Chemistry C 119(1):534-546.  doi:10.1021/jp512107z


  • Bishop LM, AS Tillman, FM Geiger, CL Haynes, RD Klaper, C Murphy, G Orr, JA Pedersen, L DeStefano, and RJ Hamers. 2014. "Enhancing Graduate Student Communication to General Audiences through Blogging about Nanotechnology and Sustainability ." Journal of Chemical Education 91(10):1600-1605.  doi:10.1021/ed500050d
  • Croken M, YF Ma, LM Markillie, RC Taylor, G Orr, LM Weiss, and K Kim. 2014. "Distinct Strains of Toxoplasma gondii Feature Divergent Transcriptomes Regardless of Developmental Stage." PLoS One 9(11):Article No. e111297.  doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0111297
  • Eraso JM, LM Markillie, HD Mitchell, RC Taylor, G Orr, and W Margolin. 2014. "The highly conserved MraZ protein is a transcriptional regulator in Escherichia coli." Journal of Bacteriology 196(11):2053-2066.  doi:10.1128/JB.01370-13
  • Gunsolus IL, D Hu, C Mihai, SE Lohse, CS Lee, M Torelli, RJ Hamers, C Murphy, G Orr, and CL Haynes. 2014. "Facile method to stain the bacterial cell surface for super-resolution fluorescence microscopy." Analyst 139(12):3174-3178.  doi:10.1039/c4an00574k
  • Tilton SC, NJ Karin, A Tolic, Y Xie, X Lai, RF Hamilton, KM Waters, A Holian, Ph.D., FA Witzmann, and G Orr. 2014. "Three Human Cell Types Respond to Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes and Titanium Dioxide Nanobelts with Cell-Specific Transcriptomic and Proteomic Expression Patterns." Nanotoxicology 8(5):533-548.  doi:10.3109/17435390.2013.803624
  • Welkie DG, X Zhang, LM Markillie, RC Taylor, G Orr, JM Jacobs, K Bhide, J Thimmapuram, MA Gritsenko, HD Mitchell, RD Smith, and LA Sherman. 2014. "Transcriptomic and proteomic dynamics in the metabolism of a diazotrophic cyanobacterium, Cyanothece sp. PCC 7822 during a diurnal light-dark cycle." BMC Genomics 15:Article No. 1185. 


  • Hu D, B Zhao, Y Xie, G Orr, and AD Li. 2013. "Understanding Super-Resolution Nanoscopy and Its Biological Applications in Cell Imaging." Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics. PCCP 15(36):14856-14861.  doi: 10.1039/C3CP51629F
  • Chien MP, AS Carlini, D Hu, CV Barback, AM Rush, DJ Hall, G Orr, and NC Gianneschi. 2013. "Enzyme-Directed Assembly of Nanoparticles in Tumors Monitored by In Vivo Whole Animal and Ex Vivo Super-Resolution Fluorescence Imaging." Journal of the American Chemical Society 135(50):18710-18713.  doi:10.1021/ja408182p
  • Kleese van Dam K, JP Carson, AL Corrigan, DR Einstein, ZC Guillen, BS Heath, AP Kuprat, IT Lanekoff, CS Lansing, J Laskin, D Li, Y Liu, MJ Marshall, EA Miller, G Orr, P Pinheiro da Silva, S Ryu, CJ Szymanski, and M Thomas. 2013. "Velo and REXAN - Integrated Data Management and High Speed Analysis for Experimental Facilities." In Proceedings of the IEEE 8th International Conference on EScience, October 8-12, 2012, Chicago, Illinois.  IEEE Press, Los Alamitos, CA.  doi: 10.1109/eScience.2012.6404463
  • Nakayasu ES, RN Brown, C Ansong, MA Sydor, S Imtiaz, C Mihai, RL Sontag, KK Hixson, ME Monroe, T Sobreira, G Orr, VA Petyuk, F Yang, RD Smith, and JN Adkins. 2013. "Multi-omic data integration links Deleted in Breast Cancer 1 (DBC1) Degradation to Chromatin Remodeling in Inflammatory Response." Molecular & Cellular Proteomics. MCP 12(8):2136-2147.  doi:10.1074/mcp.M112.026138
  • Welkie DG, DM Sherman, WB Chrisler, G Orr, and LA Sherman. 2013. "Analysis of carbohydrate storage granules in the diazotrophic cyanobacterium Cyanothece sp. PCC 7822." Photosynthesis Research 118(1-2):25-36.  doi:10.1007/s11120-013-9941-z
  • Xia T, RF Hamilton, JC Bonner, ED Crandall, AC Elder, F Fazlollahi, TA Girtsman, S Mitra, SA Ntim, G Orr, M Tagmount, AJ Taylor, D Telesca, A Tolic, CD Vulpe, AJ Walker, X Wang, FA Witzmann, N Wu, Y Xie, JI Zink, A Nel, and A Holian, Ph.D.. 2013. "Interlaboratory Evaluation of in Vitro Cytotoxicity and Inflammatory Responses to Engineered Nanomaterials: The NIEHS Nano GO Consortium." Environmental Health Perspectives 121(6):683-690.  doi:10.1289/ehp.1306561


  • Karakoti AS, P Munusamy, KE Hostetler, VK Kodali, SVNT Kuchibhatla, G Orr, JG Pounds, JG Teeguarden, BD Thrall, and DR Baer. 2012. "Preparation and Characterization Challenges to Understanding Environmental and Biological Impacts of Ceria Nanoparticles." Surface and Interface Analysis 44(8):881-889.  doi:10.1002/sia.5006
  • Xie Y, NG Williams, A Tolic, WB Chrisler, JG Teeguarden, BL Maddux, JG Pounds, A Laskin, and G Orr. 2012. "Aerosolized ZnO nanoparticles induce toxicity in alveolar type II epithelial cells at the air-liquid interface." Toxicological Sciences 125(2):450-461.  doi:10.1093/toxsci/kfr251


  • Baer DR, AS Karakoti, P Munusamy, BD Thrall, JG Pounds, JG Teeguarden, JE Amonette, G Orr, PG Tratnyek, and JT Nurmi. 2011. "Testing in EHS: What is the Current Status of Experimentation?" In 11th IEEE International Conference on Nanotechnology (IEEE-NANO 2011), August 15-18, 2011, Portland, Oregon, pp. 18-19.  IEEE, Piscataway, NJ.  doi:10.1109/NANO.2011.6144671
  • Ahring BK, NS Baliga, JR Frederickson, S Kaplan, HB Pakrasi, JG Pounds, I shah, S Slater, G Stacey, KJ Auberry, DR Baer, DML Brown, DE Cowley, DW Hoyt, DW Koppenaal, BE Linggi, KT Mueller, G Orr, EW Robinson, RG Teller, HS Wiley, NJ Hess, L Pasa-Tolic, KM Waters, and KD Rodland. 2011. Biological Interactions and Dynamics Science Theme Advisory Panel (BID-STAP)PNNL-20717, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 
  • Arey BW, V Shutthanandan, Y Xie, A Tolic, NG Williams, and G Orr. 2011. "Investigation of Cellular Interactions of Nanoparticles by Helium Ion Microscopy." In Scanning Microscopies 2011: Advanced Microscopy Technologies for Defense, Homeland Security, Forensic, Life, Environmental, and Industrial Sciences, April 26, 2011, Orlando, Florida. Proceedings of the SPIE, vol. 8036, ed. MT Postek, et al, p. Paper No. 80360K.  SPIE, Bellingham, WA.  doi:10.1117/12.887141
  • Brown GE, A Chaka, DK Shuh, EE Roden, CJ Werth, NJ Hess, AR Felmy, KM Rosso, DR Baer, VL Bailey, ME Bowden, JW Grate, DW Hoyt, LR Kuprat, AS Lea, KT Mueller, M Oostrom, G Orr, L Pasa-Tolic, C Plata, EW Robinson, RG Teller, S Thevuthasan, H Wang, HS Wiley, and MJ Wilkins. 2011. EMSL Geochemistry, Biogeochemistry and Subsurface Science-Science Theme Advisory Panel MeetingPNNL-20601, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 
  • Lea AS, BC Kabius, BW Arey, L Kovarik, CM Wang, G Orr, I Lyubinetsky, and RR Carper. 2011. "Quietly Building Capabilities: New Instruments, Expertise, "Quiet Wing" Available at DOE User Facility." Microscopy Today 19(5):48-53.  doi:10.1017/S1551929511000964
  • Orr G, WB Chrisler, KJ Cassens, R Tan, BJ Tarasevich, LM Markillie, RC Zangar, and BD Thrall. 2011. "Cellular Recognition and Trafficking of Amorphous Silica Nanoparticles by Macrophage Scavenger Receptor A." Nanotoxicology 5(3):296-311.  doi:10.3109/17435390.2010.513836


  • Hu D, and G Orr. 2010. "Nanometer Resolution Imaging by SIngle Molecule Switching." Nano Reviews 1:5122.  doi:10.3402/nano.v1i0.5122
  • Grate JW, C Zhang, TW Wietsma, MG Warner, NC Anheier, Jr, BE Bernacki, G Orr, and M Oostrom. 2010. "A note on the visualization of wetting film structures and a nonwetting immiscible fluid in a pore network micromodel using a solvatochromic dye ." Water Resources Research 46:W11602.  doi:10.1029/2010WR009419
  • Hinderliter PM, KR Minard, G Orr, WB Chrisler, BD Thrall, JG Pounds, and JG Teeguarden. 2010. "ISDD: A Computational Model of Particle Sedimentation, Diffusion and Target Cell Dosimetry for In Vitro Toxicity Studies." Particle and Fibre Toxicology 7(November):Article No. 36.  doi:10.1186/1743-8977-7-36
  • Orr G. 2010. "Organelle-Specific Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology: Active Cellular Transport of Submicro- and Nanoscale Particles." Chapter 19 in Organelle-Specific Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology, ed. V Weissig and GG D'Souza, pp. 337-356.  John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ. 
  • Yantasee W, RD Rutledge, W Chouyyok, V Sukwarotwat, G Orr, CL Warner, MG Warner, GE Fryxell, RJ Wiacek, C Timchalk, and RS Addleman. 2010. "Functionalized Nanoporous Silica for Removal of Heavy Metals from Biological Systems; Adsorption and Application." ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 2(10):2749-2758.  doi:10.1021/am100616b


  • Orr G, DJ Panther, KJ Cassens, JL Phillips, BJ Tarasevich, and JG Pounds. 2009. "Syndecan-1 Mediates the Coupling of Positively Charged Submicrometer Amorphous Silica Particles with Actin Filaments across the Alveolar Epithelial Cell Membrane." Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 236(2):210-220.  doi:10.1016/j.taap.2009.01.022


  • Orr G, DJ Panther, JL Phillips, BJ Tarasevich, A Dohnalkova, D Hu, JG Teeguarden, and JG Pounds. 2007. "Submicron and Nanoscale Inorganic Particles Exploit the Actin Machinery to be Propelled Along Microvillilike Structures into Alveolar Cells." ACS Nano 1(5):463-475.  doi:10.1021/nn700149r
  • Teeguarden JG, PM Hinderliter, G Orr, BD Thrall, and JG Pounds. 2007. "Particokinetics In Vitro: Dosimetry Considerations for In Vitro Nanoparticle Toxicity Assessments." Toxicological Sciences 95(2):300-312.  doi:10.1093/toxsci/kfl165


  • Oehmen CS, TP Straatsma, GA Anderson, G Orr, BJM Webb-Robertson, RC Taylor, RW Mooney, DJ Baxter, DR Jones, and DA Dixon. 2006. "New Challenges Facing Integrative Biological Science in the Post-Genomic Era." Journal of Biological Systems 14(2):275-293. 


  • Dong J, L Opresko, WB Chrisler, G Orr, RD Quesenberry, DA Lauffenburger, and HS Wiley. 2005. "The Membrane-anchoring Domain of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Ligands Dictates Their Ability to Operate in Juxtacrine Mode." Molecular Biology of the Cell 16(6):2984-2998. 
  • Hendriks BS, G Orr, AH Wells, HS Wiley, and DA Lauffenburger. 2005. "Parsing ERK Activation Reveals Quantitatively Equivalent Contributions From Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor and HER2 In Human Mammary Epithelial Cells." Journal of Biological Chemistry 280(7):6157-6169. 
  • Orr G, D Hu, S Ozcelik, L Opresko, HS Wiley, and SD Colson. 2005. "Cholesterol Dictates the Freedom of EGF Receptors and HER2 in the Plane of the Membrane." Biophysical Journal 89(2):1362-1373.  doi:10.1529/biophysj.104.056192


  • Harms GS, G Orr, and HP Lu. 2004. "Probing Ion Channel Conformational Dynamics Using Simultaneous Single-Molecule Ultrafast Spectroscopy and Patch-Champ Electric Recording." Applied Physics Letters 84(10):1792-1794. 
  • Harms GS, G Orr, and HP Lu. 2004. "Probing Ion Channel Conformational Dynamics Using Simultaneous Single-Molecule Ultrafast Spectroscopy and Patch-clamp Electric Recoding." Applied Physics Letters 84(10):1792-1794. 


  • Harms GS, G Orr, and HP Lu. 2003. "Probing Single-Molecule Ion Channel Conformational Dynamics Using Fluorescence Imaging, Combined Ultrafast Spectroscopy, and Patch-Clamp Recording." Biophysical Journal 84(2 Pt. 2 Supp.):123-A. 
  • Harms GS, G Orr, M Montal, BD Thrall, SD Colson, and HP Lu. 2003. "Probing conformational changes of gramicidin ion channels by single-molecule patch-clamp fluorescence microscopy." Biophysical Journal 85(3):1826-1838. 

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