About Yenisel Cruz-Almeida
Yenisel was born in La Habana, Cuba. She completed a B.Sc. degree in Microbiology & Cell Science in 2001. In 2004 she completed her master’s degree in Epidemiology & Public Health with a concentration in Biostatistics from the University of Miami. She completed her Ph.D. in Neuroscience with Dr. Eva Widerström-Noga at the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis at the University of Miami MILLER School of Medicine in 2011. As a postdoc, she focused on pain phenotyping including investigating age and pain-related biomarkers of immune function under the mentorship of Dr. Roger B. Fillingim and Dr. Joseph L. Riley at the University of Florida. Yenisel is currently a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Community Dentistry and Behavioral Sciences, as well as affiliate faculty in the Departments of Epidemiology and Neuroscience. Dr Cruz-Almeida also serves as the Associate Director of the UF Pain Research & Intervention Center of Excellence. She is the Course Director of GMS 6711 (Neurobiology of Pain), DEN 6251 (Science and Clinical Management of Dental Pain), and GMS 6895 (Clinical Translational Sciences Journal Club).
As a clinical neuroscientist, my research interests are related to understanding age-related pain perception and modulation in humans. Using multiple interdisciplinary and translational approaches, my research examines nervous system factors contributing to the observed inter-individual differences in pain phenotypes and its functional consequences including cognitive and mobility impairments.
Chronic pain represents the most prevalent and expensive public health condition in the United States, affecting 100 million people in the country with annual costs to society estimated at $635 billion. This exceeds the combined costs of cancer, AIDS, and heart disease. While chronic pain affects individuals of all ages, races, and genders, it disproportionately impacts members of some population groups. Evidence suggests that chronic pain is more prevalent and disabling in older adults, but its neurobiological underpinnings have not been elucidated.