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Valerie Tornini, PhD

Associate Research Scientist in Genetics

Contact Information

Valerie Tornini, PhD


I am a developmental biologist aiming to understand: 1) What are the gene regulatory networks that establish the cellular diversity of a developing brain? 2) How are cell types and circuits affected when these networks are disrupted? Specifically, I investigate the roles during vertebrate development of chromatin modifiers implicated in neurodevelopmental disorders risk, and of novel micropeptides (or sORF-encoded proteins). Using genome engineering, single-cell technologies, behavioral analyses, and genomics using the vertebrate zebrafish (Danio rerio) system, my work spans basic biological discovery and human health implications, especially for neurodevelopmental disorders. My postdoctoral work is supported by a Hartwell Foundation Fellowship (2018-2020) and a K99/R00 Pathway to Independence (NICHD) award.

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Education & Training

  • PhD
    Duke University, Cell Biology (2016)
  • BS
    Duke University, Biology (B.S.), Religion (A.B.) (2010)

Honors & Recognition

AwardAwarding OrganizationDate
STAT WunderkindSTAT / MD Anderson Cancer Center2023
Blavatnik Regional Award for Young ScientistsBlavatnik Family Foundation2023
Yale Postdoctoral Mentoring AwardOffice for Postdoctoral Affairs and Yale Postdoctoral Association2023
Paul T. Englund Emerging Scholar AwardJohns Hopkins School of Medicine, Department of Biological Chemistry2022
K99/R00 Pathway to Independence AwardEunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development2022
Grass Foundation Achievement AwardGrass Foundation2022
Cornell Rising StarCornell University2022
Dr. Eddie Méndez Scholar AwardFred Hutch Cancer Center2021
Leading Edge Symposium FellowLeading Edge2020

Departments & Organizations