Molecular mechanisms responding to external/internal environmental cues in neurodegeneration. Epigenetics, posttranslational modifications, RNA processing, extra cellular vesicles, microbiome, and metals.
2022-2023 Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the Office of Neural Exposome and Toxicology Research (ONETOX) within the Division of Translational Research at the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke (NINDS).
Before joining NINDS, Claudia was an Associate Research Scientist in the Neurology Department at the University of Michigan. She obtained her doctorate from the Department of Biological Chemistry at the University of Michigan and her Bachelor’s in Science in Biology as well as a Spanish-English translation certificate from San Diego State University.
Dr. Figueroa-Romero’s research was centered on the mechanisms by which internal (microbiome/immune system) and external (diet / pollutants) environmental factors contribute to neurodegeneration. She has studied how abnormal epigenetic modifications, metal uptake, and intercellular communication contribute to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and diabetic neuropathy. She used human samples as well as clinically relevant cellular and animal models to recapitulate disease phenotypes. She was recently supported by a NIEHS Diversity Supplement grant to learn basic coding and bioinformatics to identify interactions between the microbiome and environmental pollutants as potential therapeutic targets in ALS. Her research, her dedication for teaching, and a 2022 Health Science Policy Fellowship from the Center for Health & Research Transformation at the University of Michigan have increased her interest to foster and advocate for science, mentoring, and the environment.