People Profile

Staff Spotlight Ali Vonderheid

Ali Vonderheid

Born and raised in Florissant, Missouri, Ali Vonderheid played soccer, basketball, volleyball and softball throughout grade school, as well as nightly street hockey games with the neighborhood boys (yes, she was the only girl!). She continued playing soccer through high school and college where she attended Missouri Southern State University in Joplin (Vonderheid came back for summer break one day before the F-5 tornado hit back in 2011). During college breaks she worked at Christian Hospital’s summer camp and daycare, which is where she discovered her love for pediatrics. 

Vonderheid’s WashU career began in 2015 at the Children’s Specialty Care Center in one of the multi-specialty suites. As a medical assistant, she quickly realized her deep passion for the field of Neurology, specifically rare disorders. In 2019, to further pursue this passion, she applied for and accepted a pediatric neurology (rare disorders) clinical research coordinator position within WashU.

She is the primary coordinator for four trials (two drug trials and two observational trials). One observational trial is for CDKL5 Deficiency Disorder and the other three trials, including the two drug trials, are for Rett Syndrome (neither of these rare disorders have a cure). After over three years of hard work and dedication by their team, patients and their families, the drug trials are now wrapping up after receiving FDA approval back in March (the drug is called trofinetide and is the very first drug treatment for Rett!) – Wahoo!! To learn more about Rett Syndrome and our exemplary Rett Spectrum Clinic, which is a multi-disciplinary clinic that sees Rett Syndrome, MECP2 duplications, CDKL5 and FOXG1, please visit the clinic’s page.

Outside of work, Vonderheid enjoys hanging out with her amazing family and friends, sitting outside with her hummingbirds on her back patio (She’s gained their trust to where they’ll land on her hand now), traveling (Yellowstone, Glacier, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe and Zion have been some of her favorite trips so far), enjoying the night sky (space is truly breathtaking) and taking her 9-year-old pit-mix rescue dog, Lily, to Castlewood State Park and over to hang out with her very best rescue dog friends, Nahla and Kevin. Adopt, don’t shop!! Fun fact about Vonderheid is that when she enters a room, she almost always auto-pilots straight to the dog/cat/animal first.

It was truly such an honor to receive the Staff Employee of the Quarter for Q3 FY23. If she could, she would love to share it with her amazing team (you know who you are). They are the reason why she loves her job and gets to wake up every morning excited for the workday ahead. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!