Office of Science
Photo of Galya Orr

Galya Orr, Ph.D.

Senior Research Scientist and Capability Lead, WR Wiley Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, Cell Isolation & Systems Analysis

P.O. Box 999, K8-88
Richland, WA 99352
Work: (509) 371-6127 Fax: () Updated: August 20, 2012

Current Activities and Projects

Dr. Orr has been the lead PI on a grant funded by NIH-National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), on a STAR grant funded by the EPA, and on a grant from the Air Force Research Laboratory, where quantitative super resolution and single-molecule fluorescence imaging and molecular biology techniques have been applied to investigate the cell surface interactions and intracellular fate of nanomaterials. She has been part of the NIEHS consortium and Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI) team that focus on delineating mechanisms of nanoparticle toxicity or biocompatibility, with the ultimate goal of predicting and guiding the development and applications of safer nanomaterials. Her recent publications have been featured on the cover of peer reviewed journals, including Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, Toxicological Sciences and ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. Her work has been also featured in a Perspective article in ACS Nano and a podcast interview at the Journal’s website.

Dr. Orr is the capability lead for the Cell Isolation & Systems Analysis (CISA), where she leads the team in the development and applications of capabilities for biological research at the molecular level. She has been initiating and leading interdisciplinary efforts that combine the development of non-conventional quantitative fluorescence imaging and molecular biology approaches and their applications to better understand cellular and molecular processes in the intact cell. Building on her experience in electrophysiology of learning and memory, she combined single-molecule measurements to investigate dynamics - function relationships of membrane receptors. Since then, her research has been focused on molecular level understanding of information transfer across the cell membrane, initiated by physiological cues or environmental challenges.

Past Experience

• 2010-present: Senior Research Scientist-Team Lead, Pacific Northwest National Lab, Richland, WA
• 2003-2010: Senior Research Scientist, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA
• 2000-2003: Research Scientist, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA
• 1999-2000: Graduate Fellow, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA
• 1996-1999: Graduate Research Associate, Neural Systems Memory & Aging, University of Arizona, Tucson
• 1994-1995: Graduate Research Assistant, Bekesy Laboratory of Neurobiology, University of Hawaii
• 1987-1993: Research Specialist, Arizona Research Laboratories, Division of Neurobiology, U of Arizona
• 1985-1987: Research Associate, Pacific International Center for Technology Research, U of Hawaii


• Ph.D - Neuroscience, Division of Neural Systems Memory and Aging, University of Arizona, Tucson (2002)
• Toward Ph.D - Cell Molecular & Neuroscience, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii (1995)
• B.A - Molecular and Cellular Biology, Israel Institute of Technology, The Technion, Haifa, Israel (1984)

Awards, Honors, & Appointments


• 2010: Outstanding Mentor Award, US Department of Energy, Office of Science
• 2010: Fitzner-Eberhardt Award Nominee for Outstanding Contributions to Science and Engineering Education, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)
• 2008: Outstanding Performance Award, PNNL
• 2009: Significant Contributor Award, Environmental Biomarkers Initiative, PNNL
• 2000: Key Contributor Award, Biomolecular Networks Initiative, PNNL
• 1996-1997: Academic Achievements Merit Fellowship, University of Arizona
• 1994-1995: Academic Achievements Merit Scholarship, University of Hawaii
• 1983-1984: Dean's list of Honors for scholastic achievements, Israel Institute of Technology

Professional Societies and Services

• Society for Neuroscience - since 1996
• Biophysical Society - since 2001
• Society of Toxicology - since 2006
• 2007- Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute – faculty member
• 2009- NIEHS – consortium member - Nanotechnology Health Implications Research
• 2009: NIH/NIEHS - Panel reviewer - Superfund Basic Research Program (SBRP)
• 2010: EPA - Panel reviewer - Fate, Transport and Transformation of Nanomaterials
• 2010: Co-Chair – Nanotoxicology at the 50th Society of Toxicology Annual Meeting
• 2011: NSF advisory workshop - Nanomaterials and the Environment: Chemistry and Materials Perspective
• 2012: NSF - External Advisory Board - Uof Wisconsin-Madison -Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center
• 2012: NSF - Onsite Review Panel - Duke University - Center for the Environmental Implications of Nano-Technology

Peer reviewer for Biophysical Journal, ChemBioChem, ACS Nano, Nanotoxicology, Advance Materials, Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, Toxicological Sciences, International Journal of Biomedical Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Chemical Research in Toxicology, Bentham Science Publishers – Advances in Drug Delivery, The Journal of Microscopy, The European Journal of Clinical Investigation, American Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Journal of Proteome Research.

Proposals reviewer for DOE SBIR/STTR Program, NSF Early Career Program, DOE BES Energy Biosciences Research Program, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center SEED Program, Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research - Division for Chemical Sciences, NSF EPSCoR program.

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