Michelle Wright Valderas, Ph.D.
Director, Infectious Disease Preparedness Initiatives
As director of Infectious Disease Preparedness Initiatives, Michelle Wright Valderas, Ph.D., is responsible for developing and implementing the vision and direction of Southern Research’s Infectious Disease Preparedness Program, pushing forward new initiatives under the program. She oversees the organization’s TrainSafe™ Biosafety and Biosecurity Program, serves as a subject matter expert in the area of infectious disease research, and is actively involved in SR’s Select Agent Program. Additionally, she is responsible for internal and external outreach and education, engagement and management of program partners, and coordination of diverse multidisciplinary teams.
Valderas is proud to be a second generation Southern Research infectious disease scientist with significant experience in both drug discovery and drug development. At SR and prior to joining the organization, she managed and directed multiple scientific programs requiring advanced knowledge in: microbiology, bioaerosol, drug-resistant and highly pathogenic infectious diseases, telemetry, assay development and validation, and pharmaceutical product testing under Good Laboratory Practices. Over her career, she has continually introduced effective operational initiatives resulting in increased efficiencies and substantial operational savings through effective training and lean approaches to scientific process improvement. She has held several management positions at Southern Research and previously held positions of increasing responsibility in the Life Sciences Division of Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Valderas received her doctorate degree in biomedical sciences with an emphasis in microbiology, molecular biology, and immunology from the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, Texas. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Texas Christian University. She is a member of the American Society for Microbiology and was honored with an outstanding service award for her work as an ASM Minority Mentor and ASM International Mentor. Valderas has served as an NIH study section reviewer and a reviewer for multiple peer-reviewed scientific journals.