When Art Meets Science

(excerpts from the 2007 and 2008 Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation Magical Evening Journal)

Dr. Klyachko, along with his wife Valeria Cavalli of the Department of Neuroscience, take their creative passion beyond the laboratory, hoping to bring more smiles to people in the paralysis community through both their research and their jewelry designs.

Dr. Klyachko first became involved with the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation (CDRF) when Dr. Cavalli received a prestigious postdoctoral research fellowship. Dr. Cavalli attended CDRF’s inaugural Spinal Cord Symposium, at which she was able to meet many members of the spinal cord community and gain a deeper understanding of how her research directly impacts the lives of so many people.

Valeria learned the art of jewelry-making with Jay Whaley at the UC San Diego Crafts Center, and Mike Gleason at St Louis’ Craft Alliance. Valeria designs and crafts her jewelry pieces in her home-based studio, which she shares with her husband, Vitaly Klyachko, also a neuroscientist and jewelry maker. 

Between 2006 and 2017, Valeria designed and fabricated a unique piece to be offered as a raffle prize for the annual CDRF Magical Evening to be held in New York City.

In 2019, Valeria donated a custom jewelry piece to Hope Happens, a St. Louis-based foundation, which partners with the Hope Center for Neurological Disorders.

Acknowledgments: In 2006, Valeria received anonymous financial support and received technical assistance from the Italian jewelry designer Lucio Iezzi. In 2007 and 2008, David Kodner, personal jeweler in St Louis, provided financial and technical support.