Valen is a 6th year PhD candidate in the Biological Biomedical Sciences program at Harvard Medical School. She is working on her thesis in the lab of Dr. Meenakshi Rao at Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH), studying how bacteria living in our gut microbiome can alter host hormone levels to regulate bowel function. She is passionate about understanding our symbiotic relationship with microbes and truly all living things on the planet. Valen would love to make science more environmentally sustainable! She is a member of BCH Greenlabs, where she advocates for greener policies within the hospital. As a CSSL member, she is trying to make all labs in the Longwood Medical Area more environmentally conscious and communicates with the Longwood Collective and the School of Public Health to make this happen. Outside of the lab, she enjoys practicing yoga, gardening, cooking plant based food and reading.