Yolanda Vallejo, Ph.D., is a program director in NCATS’ Division of Clinical Innovation, where she manages a portfolio of Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) and Trial Innovation Network grants. The Trial Innovation Network is a collaborative initiative within NCATS’ CTSA Program and is composed of three key organizational partners: the Trial Innovation Centers, the Recruitment Innovation Center and the CTSA Program hubs. Vallejo has served on several trans-NIH and trans-agency committees, including the Helping to End Addiction Long-termSM Initiative, or the NIH HEAL InitiativeSM; NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research; NIH Pain Consortium; Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee; NIH Common Fund Acute to Chronic Pain Signatures; NIH Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Research Workgroup; and the U.S.-Japan Brain Research Cooperative Program.
Prior to joining NCATS, Vallejo was director of the Neuroscience of Orofacial Pain and Temporomandibular Disorders Program at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. In that role, she managed a diverse portfolio of basic, translational and clinical research grants focused on orofacial pain, including neuropathies, oral cancer pain, temporomandibular joint disorders, and dental pain. She also served as a program director at the National Cancer Institute’s Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities, where she managed complex programs focused on reducing health disparities and increasing biomedical research workforce diversity through career development and training mechanisms. Vallejo began her tenure at NIH in 2008 as a program analyst at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Vallejo received her doctorate in neurobiology, pharmacology and physiology from The University of Chicago; she received a Bachelor of Science in biology from Loyola University of Chicago. Vallejo completed postdoctoral research training at The University of Chicago and served as a research scientist at Pierce Biotechnology, Inc., where she conducted protein function research and product development.
Vallejo has broad research interests that span the basic-to-clinical research spectrum in neuroscience, including ion channel biology; molecular pharmacology; neurophysiology; the study of biopsychosocial determinants of pain and substance use disorders; and the development, implementation and dissemination of diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to reduce the burden of disease. She is committed to reducing health disparities, advancing health equity through innovative and crosscutting approaches, and increasing biomedical research workforce diversity.