Danielle Orozco-Nunnelly (she/her/hers)

Associate Professor of Biology

Neils Science Center, Room 211Danielle-Orozco-Nunnelly


Ph.D. in Biological Sciences – University of Illinois at Chicago (2015)
B.S. in Biology and Chemistry – Valparaiso University (2007)

Research Interests

Subjects of Interest: molecular and cellular biology, medicinal phytochemistry, plant-microbe interactions, microbiology, plants and human health, environmental biotechnology

Danielle Orozco-Nunnelly and her students are exploring medicinal plants with the goal of discovering novel antimicrobial drugs. To do this, extracts of various plant parts (using solvents of different polarities) are tested for their effects against twelve bacterial and fungal microbes of interest, along with one human colon cancer cell line. Additionally, the Orozco-Nunnelly lab is collaborating with Valpo organic chemist, Dr. Jeff Pruet, to create and screen rationally-designed variants of several phytocompounds that were originally isolated from Argemone mexicana, a stress-resistant member of the poppy family of flowering plants. Some of the techniques used in these studies include cell (microbial and human) culture and preservation, plant growth and maintenance, phytochemical extraction, Kirby-Bauer antimicrobial testing, colorimetric assays (such as the ALP and MTT cell-based assays), as well as analytical chemistry techniques.

Dr. Orozco-Nunnelly also works on multiple projects relating to environmental biotechnology with collaborators at the Tecnológico de Monterrey in Guadalajara, Mexico, and she periodically leads a study-abroad summer course, BIO-290, where students learn about the history, culture and traditions of Mexico, while simultaneously performing field and lab work. In this course, Valpo undergraduate students partner with graduate researchers to work on projects related to analyzing industrial waste products in the state of Jalisco and coming up with economical solutions to incorporate these products into circular bioeconomy processes. Contact Dr. Orozco-Nunnelly for more information if you’re interested!


  1. P. Rios-Ibarra, M. Salinas-Santander, D. A. Orozco-Nunnelly & J. Bravo-Madrigal. (2024). “A brief review of nanoparticle-based antiviral strategies to combat the influenza virus.” Biomedical Reports. Accepted and In-Press.
  2. A. López-Sánchez, A. L. Silva-Gálvez, M. E. González-López, D. Díaz-Vázquez, D. A. Orozco-Nunnelly, I. Novoa-Leiva, J. González-Valdez, L. F. Casillas-García, M. S. Gradilla-Hernández. (2023). “Valorization of livestock waste through combined anaerobic digestion and microalgae-based treatment in México: A techno-economic analysis for distributed biogas generation, animal feed production, and carbon credits trading.” Environmental Technology & Innovation, 32: 103321. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eti.2023.103321
  3. J. Villegas*, B. Ball*, K. Shouse*, C. VanArragon*, A. Wasserman*, H. Bhakta*, A. Oliver, D. A. Orozco-Nunnelly & J. Pruet (2023). “Synthesis and biological evaluation of Argemone mexicana-inspired antimicrobials.” Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry, 19: 1511–1524. doi: https://doi.org/10.3762/bjoc.19.108
  4. M. F. Palafox-Sola, C. Yebra-Montes, D. A. Orozco-Nunnelly, D. Carrillo-Nieves, M. E. González-López & M S. Gradilla-Hernández. (2023). “Modeling growth kinetics and community interactions in microalgal cultures for bioremediation of anaerobically digested swine wastewater.” Algal Research, 70: 102981. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.algal.2023.102981
  5. G. O. Lara-Topete, C. E. Robles-Rodríguez, D. A. Orozco-Nunnelly, A. Vázquez-Morillas, G. Bernache-Pérez & M S. Gradilla-Hernández. (2023). “A mini review on the main challenges of implementing mechanical biological treatment plants for municipal solid waste in the Latin America region: Learning from the experiences of developed countries.” Waste Management & Research, 734242X231154143. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0734242X231154143
  6. O. Diaz-Torres, O. Y. Lugo-Melchor, J. de Anda, D. A. Orozco-Nunnelly, M. S. Gradilla-Hernández & C. Senés-Guerrero. (2022). “Characterizing a subtropical hypereutrophic lake: From physicochemical variables to shotgun metagenomic data.” Front. Microbiol., 13: 1037626. doi: https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2022.1037626
  7. F. E. Ibarra-Esparza, M. Verduzco-Garibay, G. O. Lara-Topete, M. E. González-López, D. A. Orozco-Nunnelly, O. Aguilar-Juárez, C. Senés-Guerrero & M. S. Gradilla-Hernández. (2022). “A micro- and macro-scale look at the biochemical methanogenic potential of the organic fraction of municipal solid waste generated in a large city of a developing country.” Front. Environ. Sci., 10: 1020208. doi: https://doi.org/10.3389/fenvs.2022.1020208
  8. D. Díaz-Vázquez, M. Verduzco Garibay, A. Fernández del Castillo, D. A. Orozco-Nunnelly, C. Senés-Guerrero & M. S. Gradilla-Hernández. (2022). “Yeast community composition impacts on tequila industry waste treatment for pollution control and waste-to-product synthesis.” Front. Chem. Eng., 4: 1013873. doi: https://doi.org/10.3389/fceng.2022.1013873
  9.  A. Fernández del Castillo, M. Verduzco-Garibay, C. Senés-Guerrero, D. A. Orozco-Nunnelly, J. de Anda & M. S. Gradilla-Hernández. (2022). “A review of the sustainability of anaerobic reactors combined with constructed wetlands for decentralized wastewater treatment.” Journal of Cleaner Production, 133428. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2022.133428
  10.  D. Díaz-Vázquez, D. A. Orozco-Nunnelly, C. Yebra-Montes, C. Senés-Guerrero & M. S. Gradilla-Hernández. (2022). “Using yeast cultures to valorize tequila vinasse waste: An example of a circular bioeconomy approach in the agro-industrial sector.” Biomass and Bioenergy, 161: 106471. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biombioe.2022.106471
  11.  G. O. Lara-Topete, C. Yebra-Montes, D. A. Orozco-Nunnelly, C. E. Robles-Rodríguez & M. S. Gradilla-Hernández. (2022). “An Integrated Environmental Assessment of MSW Management in a Large City of a Developing Country: Taking the First Steps Towards a Circular Economy Model.” Front. Environ. Sci., 10: 838542. doi: https://doi.org/10.3389/fenvs.2022.838542
  12.  C. P. Rios-Ibarra, B. Verduzco-Garza, R. Ortiz-Lopez, Y. Grondin, M. Salinas-Santander, L. A. Arvizu-Gutierrez, M. G. Sanchez-Salazar, E. Cervantes-Astorga, D. A. Orozco-Nunnelly & A. M. Rivas-Estilla. (2022). “Transcriptional Profile of HCV Replicon Cells after Treatment with Acetylsalicylic Acid.” Ann Clin Lab Sci, 52(2): 222-229. http://www.annclinlabsci.org/content/52/2/222
  13.  A. López-Sánchez, A. L. Silva-Gálvez, J. E. Zárate-Aranda, C. Yebra-Montes. D. A. Orozco-Nunnelly, D. Carrillo-Nieves & M. S. Gradilla-Hernández. (2022). “Microalgae-mediated bioremediation of cattle, swine and poultry digestates using mono- and mixed-cultures coupled with an optimal mixture design.” Algal Research, 64: 102717. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.algal.2022.102717
  14.  A. López-Sánchez, A. L. Silva-Gálvez, O. Aguilar-Juárez, C. Senés-Guerrero, D. A. Orozco-Nunnelly, D. Carrillo-Nieves & M. S. Gradilla-Hernández. (2022). “Microalgae-based livestock wastewater treatment (MbWT) as a circular bioeconomy approach: Enhancement of biomass productivity, pollutant removal and high-value compound production.” Journal of Environmental Management, 308: 114612. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2022.114612
  15.  D. A. Orozco-Nunnelly, J. Pruet, C. P. Rios-Ibarra, E. L. Bocangel Gamarra*, T. Lefeber* & T. Najdeska*. (2021). “Characterizing the cytotoxic effects and several antimicrobial phytocompounds of Argemone mexicana.” PLoS ONE, 16(4):e0249704. doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0249704
  16.  O. Díaz-Torres, J. de Anda, O. Y. Lugo-Melchor, A. Pacheco, D. A. Orozco-Nunnelly, H. Shear, C. Senés-Guerrero & M. S. Gradilla-Hernández. (2021). “Rapid Changes in the Phytoplankton Community of a Subtropical, Shallow, Hypereutrophic Lake During the Rainy Season.” Front. Microbiol., 12:617151. doi: https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2021.617151
  17.  D. Díaz-Vázquez, D. Carrillo-Nieves, D. A. Orozco-Nunnelly, C. Senés-Guerrero & M. S. Gradilla-Hernández. (2021). “An integrated approach for the assessment of environmental sustainability in agro-industrial waste management practices: The case of the tequila industry.” Front. Environ. Sci. 9:682093. doi: https://doi.org/10.3389/fenvs.2021.682093
  18.  A. López-Sánchez, A.C. Luque-Badillo, D. A. Orozco-Nunnelly, N. S. Alencastro-Larios, J. A. Ruiz-Gómez, T. García-Cayuela & M. S. Gradilla Hernández. (2021). “Food loss in the agricultural sector of a developing country: Transitioning to a more sustainable approach. The case of Jalisco, Mexico.” Environmental Challenges. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envc.2021.100327
  19.  E. Fernandez-Castillo, E. A. Reyes-Serratos, L. Sanchez-Lopez, D. A. Orozco-Nunnelly, A. M. Rivas-Estilla, M. Salinas-Santander, A. Santos, M. Vazquez-Del Mercado & C. P. Rios-Ibarra. (2020). “Down Regulation of Tumor Biomarkers in Colon Cancer Cells with iRNA-PFK-1 Plus Metformin.” JBUON. 26(4): 1210-1218. ISSN: 1107-0625. https://jbuon.com/archive/26-4-1210.pdf
  20.  A. Para, D. Muhammad, D. A. Orozco-Nunnelly, R. Memishi, S. Alvarez, M. J. Naldrett & K. M. Warpeha. (2016). “The dehydratase ADT3 affects ROS homeostasis and cotyledon development.” Plant Physiology, pp.00464. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1104/pp.16.00464
  21.  D. A. Orozco-Nunnelly. (2015). “Determining the role of Pirin1 in light-regulated growth and cellular responses in Arabidopsis thaliana.” UIC Indigo: Dissertations and Theses. http://hdl.handle.net/10027/19577
  22.  D. A. Orozco-Nunnelly, D. Muhammad, V. Liakaite, S. J. Green & K. M. Warpeha. (2014). “Pirin1 Is a Non-Circadian Regulated Transcript and Protein, but Highly Responsive to Light/Dark Periods in the Seed-to-Seedling Transition in Arabidopsis thaliana.” Molecular Biology Reporter, 1-13. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11105-014-0826-x
  23.  D. A. Orozco-Nunnelly, D. Muhammad, R. Mezzich, B.-S. Lee, L. Jayathilaka, L. S. Kaufman & K. M. Warpeha. (2014). “Pirin1 (PRN1) Is a Multifunctional Protein that Regulates Quercetin, and Impacts Specific Light and UV Responses in the Seed-to-Seedling Transition of Arabidopsis thaliana.” PLoS ONE, 9(4):e93371. doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0093371
  24.  D. A. Orozco-Nunnelly, L. S. Kaufman & K. M. Warpeha. (2013). “G protein signaling in UV protection: methods for understanding the signals in young etiolated seedlings.” In G Protein-Coupled Receptor Signaling in Plants: Methods and Protocols, Methods in Molecular Biology (1043:89-101). New York, NY: Humana Press. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-62703-532-3_10

* Denotes a Valpo undergraduate author

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