Tenaya K. Vallery, Ph.D. is a research associate conducting research under the mentorship of Dr. John Rinn at BioFrontiers of the University of Colorado, Boulder. As a research associate, she is studying the interactions and mechanisms related to long noncoding RNA-directed chromatin remodeling and gene regulation. Tenaya also consults with biotech companies and venture capitalist firms to develop educational materials about the drug design process and tutors students in a wide range of academic topics.

Tenaya graduated Mount Holyoke College in 2010 with a B.A. in Biochemistry and Yale in 2018 with a Ph.D. in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, advised by Dr. Joan A. Steitz.  During her graduate work, she applied her understanding of RNA and microscopy to ask research questions regarding viral long noncoding RNA (lncRNA).  Her research focused on the regulation of both host and viral gene expression by the Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), shedding light onto spatial and temporal activities of viral transcripts, including messenger and noncoding RNAs, during the lytic phase. 

Her over-a-decade research experience also includes the study of pathogens such as Plasmodium falciparum and RNA molecules like riboswitches and the ribosome. She has published in Science, Molecular Cell, Genes and Development, and more and has presented her research at conferences both domestically and internationally. Her latest publication focused on host-virus co-evolution, quantifying human cell morphology changes related to viral replication. Dr. Vallery earned Yale’s Certificate of College Teaching Preparation and has taught at Bard College.  At Yale, she earned an Excellence in Teaching as a co-head teaching assistant. 

After graduating Yale, Tenaya was a chemistry teacher and co-director of the Engineering, Design, and Innovation (EDI) Fellows at Norfolk Academy in Norfolk, VA. There she taught Introductory Chemistry (10th Grade) and Organic Chemistry and co-directed the EDI Fellows Program, which is a curriculum of science and technology blended with civic-engagement and leadership.  Her teaching experience at an elite private school helped her in her role as a consultant, developing materials that help investors better understand the healthcare field and biotech.

In her spare time, Tenaya is out hiking and practicing yoga. She earned a 200h yoga teacher certificate (YA certified) and is working on her 500h yoga teacher training with Asheville Yoga Center, NC. She is also a passionate Mount Holyoke alumna and donates her time helping fellow alumnae and students.