Unveiling Toxicology: Insights from Eliana Valle

By: Sara Kaplan

Dr Eliana Valle is a visiting scientist and professor from Brazil.  I spoke with her about some of her inspirations, research and challenges. When she was young, she met a Chemist and this sent her down the path she is on today. The Chemist showed her how different elements cause different reactions.  Chemistry was challenging for her which made Dr. Valle‚Äôs desire to study the subject even greater. 

Two attributes she feels that someone needs to possess to be successful in Toxicology is discipline and curiosity. Some of the challenges she faced was learning the field of Biology. She discovered how big the field is and acknowledged the large amount of work it took to learn this field. Dr. Valle also mentioned that one needs to have a good balance between studying and working to be successful in science. Some experiments require daily monitoring so they are more time consuming then others.

In her home country of Brazil, toxicology is becoming a large field and is in several of the Universities. San Paulo University has one of the more significant programs in Toxicology.

Currently she is working with Dr. Martyniuk a professor here at University of Florida. They are conducting experiments using zebrafish as indicators. They are researching the effects of pesticides and PFAS (polyfluoroalkyl substances. a group of forever chemicals) on the biological functions of the fish. For seven days after exposure their behavior is monitored. Eliana feels that it is very important for non-scientist to understand the effects these chemicals are having.

One day she would like to do a collaboration project between Brazil and UF. Dr. Valle would like to expand the project and include metals and their effects. With co-collaboration the project can be done at a larger scale and be more inclusive as to what they test.

Eliana Valle is determined, challenge driven scientist who believes curiosity and hard work are essential when pursing the sciences. She has a bright future ahead of her.

Dr Valle standing outside CEHT