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School of Health Sciences

Nichole Orench-Rivera, Ph.D.

Headshot of Nichole Orench-Rivera

Office: STC 306C

Tel: 617-243-2291



  • Ph.D. Biochemistry, Duke University
  • Certificate in College Teaching, Duke University
  • B.S. Industrial Biotechnology, University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez


Professor Nichole Orench-Rivera obtained her bachelor's degree in industrial biotechnology from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. She then worked toward her doctoral degree in biochemistry and a certificate in college teaching at Duke University. After participating in the Preparing Future Faculty program at Duke, she was an adjunct professor of biology for two semesters at North Carolina Central University (NCCU). As a Ph.D. candidate, she received several academic honors including being selected to travel and present her research at the meeting for the American Association of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), being selected to receive the Mitchell Meritorious Research Travel Award granted by the Duke University Center for Host-Microbial Interactions (CHoMI), receiving an outstanding abstract award from the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), and being awarded the Chancellor's Scholarship granted by the Duke University Graduate School. Outside of teaching, Professor Orench-Rivera's hobbies include spending time with her husband and daughter, walking her dog, reading, running, and watching foreign shows on Netflix.

What is a quote that represents your teaching philosophy?

I believe that a classroom where every student feels valued and included is much more conducive to learning. Students that feel comfortable sharing their approaches to problem solving are more receptive and learn more effortlessly! 

What is one thing that you hope students take away from your class?

I want my students to learn the ways in which science influences our daily lives and that science is not just for scientists, is for everyone willing to learn more about the world!

Do you have a personal or professional blog/ website?

Recent publications:

Orench-Rivera, N, Kuehn MJ. Differential protein packaging into OMVs upon oxidative stress reveals a general mechanism for vesicle cargo selectivity. 2021.

Orench-Rivera, N. Balancing Teaching and Research: Making the Most of Your Teaching Experience as a STEM Graduate Student. Professional Development Blog. Duke Graduate School. Jan 30, 2019. 

Finethy R, Luoma S, Orench-Rivera N, et al. Inflammasome Activation by Bacterial Outer Membrane Vesicles Requires Guanylate Binding Proteins. MBio. 2017;8(5).

Orench-Rivera N, Kuehn MJ. Environmentally controlled bacterial vesicle-mediated export. Cell Microbiol. 2016;18(11):1525-1536.

Kulp AJ, Sun B, Ai T, Manning AJ, Orench-Rivera N, et al. Genome-Wide Assessment of Outer Membrane Vesicle Production in Escherichia coli. PLoS ONE. 2015;10(9):e0139200.

Acevedo R, Orench-Rivera, N, Quarles KA, Showalter SA. Helical defects in microRNA influence protein binding by TAR RNA binding protein. PLoS ONE. 2015;10(1):e0116749.