A Conversation with Luca

Name: Luca Illinik

Title: Program Regulatory Affairs Specialist

Organization: Infectious Disease Clinical Research Program

Time with HJF: Five Years

Luca is an asset in any given situation and for every task. She is a true leader and one of the most humble and helpful people I have been honored to work with and know. She is someone I value for advice, guidance, training and constructive feedback with any given issue. Luca is a woman of her word and she does all things to the best of her ability! She gives 110 percent and nothing less. She does not claim to know everything, but will personally take it upon herself to educate herself to accomplish a goal set forth with excellence. She goes above and beyond the call and does it without hesitation.

Luca is also very much a team player and consistently offers encouragement and assistance and always displays leadership and professionalism. I am honored to work beside a woman like Luca. She has given me the encouragement and determination to better myself professionally and personally with the simple belief in my ability

I believe Luca is the type of person that is capable of accomplishing anything and an example of an amazing woman who will set the bar for the coming generations of women to look up to and want to be like her.  

--submitted by Realisha B. Smith, CCRP Clinical Research Coordinator, Infectious Disease Clinical Research Program


What do you love most about the work you do? I love the problem solving and educational aspects of my job, as well as the opportunity to work with investigators that answer questions relevant to military medicine. As an active duty spouse, I take pride in knowing that my job helps better the lives of our service members. 

What’s the last book you read? “Children of Time” by Adrian Tchaikovsky. 

What are you passionate about? I am passionately curious and love to learn. Once you stop learning, I believe you start dying. As a first-generation immigrant, education and a passion for learning were my keys to the proverbial “American Dream.” I am also passionate about different types of technology that improve productivity at work and at home. 

Who would you most like to swap places with for a day? I would like to swap places with Christina Koch. Christina is a female astronaut who is about to break a major record while in orbit. She will soon hold the title for the longest single spaceflight by a woman, beating out former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson. I am a big fan of NASA and have a NASA Langley Research Center personalized license plate. Should HJF open a clinical research site on the International Space Station, I will be the first one to sign up. 

If you could visit anywhere in the world you’ve never been, where would you go? I would visit the summit of mount Roraima. It is one of the world’s most extraordinary natural geological formations that dates back more than two billion years. 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with your colleagues? The organizational culture at HJF is extraordinary. The company values its staff's growth and success. Also, the Infectious Disease Clinical Research program fosters education and mentoring of trainees. I received tremendous support from HJF investigators and staff during my time as a graduate student. The people at HJF are a diverse collective of thinkers and doers, with a passion for research inspired by a shared commitment to advance military medicine. As an active duty spouse, I consider myself extremely fortunate to have such a rewarding career within HJF.