Never stop learning: An interview with Tony Valero

by Megan Frame, Membership Coordinator


Welcome to another installment of our featured member interviews series where we introduce you to more of our members—individuals who work to advance ethical research on a daily basis. Please read on to learn more about their professional experiences, how membership helps connect them to a larger community, and what goes on behind-the-scenes in their lives!

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tony Valero, institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) director at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine  in Maywood, IL.

Megan Frame (MF): When and why did you join the field?
Tony Valero (TV): In 2003 I was recruited as an IACUC coordinator at the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine (SSOM) in Maywood, IL. Subsequently, I attended my first PRIM&R IACUC Conference in 2004 in Boston, MA, and I knew that I had a lot of catching up to do in my new profession. I then considered it as a challenge and a worthy career.

MF: What skills are particularly helpful in a job like yours? 
TV: I was an IACUC member for five years while I was working as a research scientist at a large pharmaceutical company. It made me aware of the compliance issues that exist when working with laboratory animals. It also helped that I have a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of the Philippines and passed the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) Laboratory Animal Technologist (LATG) certification.

MF: Tell us about an article, book, or document that has influenced your professional life. 
TV: The IACUC Handbook, 2nd Edition, by Jerald Silverman, Mark Suckow and Sreekant Murthy. It was the last reference that I used when I studied for my Certified Professional IACUC Administrator (CPIA) exam. Participation in PRIM&R’s IACUC Conferences and the information made available to me from these meetings was also very helpful.

MF: Have there been any PRIM&R events or talks that you have attended that have significantly impacted your approach to your work? If so, what were they and how did they influence you?
TV: All of the PRIM&R conferences that I have attended have impacted my work. They provide me with updates on compliance matters and freshen my everyday approach to the work that I do.

MF: What advice have you found most helpful in your career?
TV: Never stop learning; I accomplish that through attending conferences, periodically checking out regulatory websites, viewing webinars, and reading emails from IACUC listservs.

MF: What is something you know now that you wish someone had told you when you first entered this field? 
TV: Do not work to preserve the status quo and do not reinvent the wheel! There is a lot of information out there that can help to improve your program and bring your institution into full compliance with regulations and best practices.

MF: What is your proudest achievement?
TV: My proudest achievement was when I passed the CPIA exam  in the spring of 2011.

MF: What is one thing you wish “the man on the street” knew about your work? 
TV: My job is to ensure that animal research subjects are adequately protected, and to promote ethical and responsible research. In other words, my work is to improve the health and care of laboratory and domestic animals.

Thank you for being part of the membership community and sharing your story, Tony. We hope to see you in Denver next year at the 2014 IACUC Conference!  

If you’d like to learn more about becoming a member, please visit our website today.