Valene is a postdoctoral scholar in the WUSTL Transdisciplinary Postdoctoral Training Program in Obesity and Cardiovascular Disease. Her longstanding research interests are at the intersection of women’s health, energy metabolism, and body composition assessment methods. Her current research goal is to use whole-body metabolism and imaging approaches to understand the physiologic basis for the high prevalence of cardiometabolic disease among African American women and its mechanistic relationship to the disparate rates of pregnancy-related morbidity and mortality.
Valene received her Ph.D. from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). At UAB, her master’s thesis and dissertation explored using bioelectrical impedance spectroscopy as a non-invasive tool to identify women with insulin resistance. Her research suggests that bioimpedance devices may be a valuable tool for early detection of insulin resistance and play a valuable role in the improvement of diabetes and women’s health outcomes, especially for those in challenging settings such as rural, low access, and undeveloped areas. Her research earned her the UAB Comprehensive Diabetes Research Center’s Student Innovator Award and the UAB Barker Award for Excellence in Graduate Studies, the highest honor given to graduate students at UAB.
In addition to research, Valene was extremely active in mentoring and leadership at UAB, ultimately earning a Graduate Certificate in Mentoring and Leadership. Valene was awarded the 2019 Diversity Champion Award for her advocacy and mentorship work as the President of the Black Graduate Student Association (BGSA) and Director of the BGSA’s BLUEprint Connect program.