Valerie Reinke attended University of Illinois, receiving her B.S. in Genetics in 1990. She then went to University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston, Texas for graduate work in the laboratory of Gigi Lozano. There she studied mechanisms of tumor suppression by the factor p53, and received her PhD in Biomedical Sciences in 1996. Valerie performed her postdoctoral work in the laboratory of Stuart Kim at Stanford University in California, focusing on initiating genomic studies of a model organism, the nematode C. elegans. While there, she developed an interest in the role of gene expression in regulating C. elegans germline development. In 2000, she joined the faculty of the Department of Genetics at Yale School of Medicine, and continues to apply genome-wide technologies to understanding gene regulatory mechanisms in the germ line.