Tenaya K. Vallery is a chemistry teacher and co-director of the Engineering, Design, and Innovation (EDI) Fellows at Norfolk Academy in Norfolk, VA. She 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. Today she teaches Introductory Chemistry (10th Grade) and Organic Chemistry. She also co-directs the EDI Fellows Program, which is a curriculum of science and technology blended with civic-engagement and leadership. She is also the lead teacher and designer of a Maymester Course about the American tradition of nature writing and the Appalachian Trail. She hopes to incorporate more research and editing/writing into her career. When away from the classroom, 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.