Allyson Varley outside. Photo provided by Allyson Varley
Allyson Varley outside. Photo provided by Allyson Varley

Allyson is a Research Health Scientist at Birmingham VA Medical Center. She also holds part time positions with the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Clinical and Population Health Sciences program and Heart Rhythm Clinical & Research Solutions. Her program of research focuses on developing and testing strategies to advance the implementation of pain and addiction treatments across healthcare settings.

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Early Bird

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?

Two of the most magical dogs ever: Elly May and Chester

4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?


5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?


8 If you could switch professions, what would you do?


9 If you could switch science fields, what field would you want to work in?

Egyptology or mycology

10 If you got a plane ticket right now, where would it go?

Somewhere with mountains to hike!

11 If you had one superpower, what would it be?

Mind reading

12 Is there anything you strongly recommend we watch and/or read and/or listen to?

I just finished the Curios Creations of Christine McConnell on Netflix and LOVED it.
I love so many books but have a deep appreciation for all things David Sedaris right now.

13 It’s your day off. What do you want to do?


14 What are three things you can’t live without?

My phone, sparkling water, nature time

15 What beverage gives you life?

sparkling water

16 What book did you read in school that positively shaped you?

Way of the Peaceful Warrior

17 What did you want to be when you grew up?

An egyptologist

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

My family and helping people

19 What got you excited in science?

The presence of a field that seeks to improve the efficiency of translating research into practice.

20 What excites you about science now?

Collaborating with other who are exciting about helping others and improving the health care experience.

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?


22 What is a secret talent of yours?

I can still do some gymnastics

23 What is your favorite game?


24 What is the last book you read?

Spineless: the Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone by Juli Berwald

25 What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve received?

One of my mentors always stresses the importance of persistence.

26 What is something you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve been too scared to do?


27 What is the best advice for your 18 year old self?

Enjoy that energy while you have it!

28 What is the best way to de-stress?


29 What is the last thing you watched?


30 What is the weirdest thing you’ve had in your bag?

Probably like a full meal.

31 What is your favorite animal?


32 What is your favorite book?

The Poisonwood Bible

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

Fried Chicken

34 What is your favorite day of the year?

January 1

35 What is your favorite plant?

I really love my ponytail palm. I also love to grow Zinnia.

36 What is your favorite science fact?

Chimpanzees hands are very similar to humans. I love watching them use their hands. Its so weird! Haha not related to my science, but still one of my favorite things.

37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?

Diptyque Feu De Bois (campfire)

39 What is your favorite sound?

Silence or birds #gokotta

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

I am open-minded.

41 What is your favorite word (in any language)?


42 What is your proudest moment?

Defending my dissertation

43 What kind of tree would you be?

A fir

44 What’s the best thing about where you live?

Great weather for gardening and SO much good food!

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

I love plants. I have 50+ indoor plants and then even more outside my house.

46 Who would you like to see 46 Questions interview next?

Audrey Jones (@draudreyjones on twitter) and Ann Elizabeth Montgomery