Cruz-Almeida is a program director and tenured associate professor in the UF Department of Community Dentistry & Behavioral Science who joined the college in June 2019, transferring from the UF College of Medicine where she worked in the UF Institute on Aging for five years.
Her primary focus is continuing her research related to understanding the mechanisms involved in age-related pain perception and modulation in humans. Using multiple interdisciplinary and translational approaches, her research examines nervous system factors contributing to the observed inter-individual differences in pain phenotypes in older adults and accompanying functional consequences including mobility impairment and cognitive decline.
Cruz-Almeida earned her bachelor’s in microbiology and cell science from UF in 2001, her master’s in epidemiology and public health with a concentration in biostatistics in 2004, and her doctorate in neuroscience in 2011, both from the University of Miami. In 2012, she completed a post-doctoral fellowship in translational pain research at UF.
Cruz-Almeida teaches graduate courses for students in the colleges of dentistry and medicine, and serves as the director of training and career development for the UF Pain Research & Intervention Center of Excellence. Cruz-Almeida also teaches Zumba at Gainesville Health & Fitness Center.
USASP’s mission is to promote scientific advances that reduce the burden of pain. They bring people with diverse perspectives together, including those of scientists, clinicians, health-care providers, and policymakers, to stimulate and support the study of pain and to translate that knowledge into improved pain relief.