People in profile: Valla Sahraei

Meet Valla—following her heart and pursuing her passion for research.

Q: What is your role in health research?
I am the clinical trials coordinator at the Lions Gate Hospital Chemotherapy Department.

Q: What is your research area of interest, and what led you to that interest?
I am particularly interested in oncology. I started working as an oncology nurse at BC Children’s Hospital, in both the inpatient and outpatient clinic, and constantly found myself immersed in the charts and using my spare time to read oncology literature. I frequently heard, “Oh yes, that’s Valla, she likes research a lot!” from the other oncology department nurses and team members, which encouraged me to pursue a Master of Science degree in nursing with a focus on research. 

Q: What’s the best part about your research job?
I really enjoy the autonomy and independence of working in research.

Q: What does your average day at work look like?
In theory, my role in research is part time, but since research does not follow a set schedule, I find myself at work in front of my computer most days. There is always data to log, patients to see and administrative work to do. I usually start my day by trying to make a to-do list, then seeing if I get it all checked off by the end of the day. 

Q: What is one of the proudest moments of your research career?
I really enjoy seeing something that I worked on get published. It feels great to know that I am contributing to new knowledge and advancement in health research. 

Q: What would you do if you weren’t a researcher? 
I would probably like to own and operate a sheep farm.

Q: Who or what inspires you?
I am so inspired by the up-and-coming young minds out there who are just beginning their careers in medicine and research. Their enthusiasm is contagious.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go and why?
I would really like to go to Scotland and visit my family again soon.

Q: What’s one thing we might be surprised to learn about you? 
I know a surprising number of song lyrics from music of the 70’s and 80’s!

Q: What’s your favourite band?
I think it would shock a lot of people to know that my favourite band is Metallica. 

Valla Sahraei has a bachelor of nursing from the University of Calgary and master of science in nursing from the University of British Columbia. She is a clinical trial coordinator with the Chemotherapy Clinic at Lions Gate Hospital and works with Drs. Sasha Smiljanic, Puneet Bains and Ardashes Avanessian. Born in Scotland and raised in Alberta, Valla came to BC in 2000 for a visit and never left.


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