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Valerio has been interested in chronic low-grade systemic inflammation and its implications in contributing to chronic pain through altered homeostasis for a long time. These aspects are novel, and there is currently very limited research investigating them. Because of the lack of research on the topic, it took Valerio three years of inquiring across universities in North America to find an “institutional home” that would be involved in such a specific research topic. Pitt SHRS offered him the opportunity to perform this promising and cutting-edge research while supporting him with two mentors (Dr. Sowa and Dr. Piva) and allowing him to fill the (many) knowledge gaps he felt he had through a variety of high-quality courses. He feels he receives incredible, continuous support that will empower him to excel in this research project and his future career endeavors.


Department of Physical Therapy


Doctor of Philosophy in Rehabilitation Science

Research Interests

  • Chronic Pain
  • Chronic Low-Grade Systemic Inflammation and Homeostasis
  • Genetics
  • Gut microbiome

Research Grants

  • NIH HEAL Administrative Supplements to Promote Training in Clinical Research on Pain (2020)