Paola Figueroa-Delgado (she/her/ella) grew up in a small rural town in Puerto Rico and graduated with a B.S. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras. During her first years as an undergrad, she served as a research mentor to pre-college students at the Arecibo Observatory Space Academy conducting research in astronomy, physics, engineering, biology and chemistry. Half-way through her undergrad she conducted clinical research with a Neuropathologist at the University of Puerto Rico Medical School, which helped her define her interests toward conducting neuroscience research. During her last two years of undergrad, Paola was an NIH BP-ENDURE Fellow, which provided training in Neuroscience for individuals of underrepresented and low-income backgrounds. She worked in identifying molecular and cellular mechanisms that promote nervous system regeneration in the sea cucumber H. glaberrima and developed an in vitro culture system for radial nerve cord explants. In the Summer of her junior year, she participated in the Department of Molecular Biology and Lewis Sigler Institute Summer Undergraduate Research Program at Princeton University as an summer intern. Under the mentorship of Dr. Elizabeth Gavis, she worked on identifying the role of the canonical Wnt-pathway in regulating neuron morphology. Throughout her undergraduate degree, she led and participated on various initiatives to promote and increase diversity in STEM.
Paola is now a PhD candidate at the Department of Cell Biology in the Yogev laboratory. She currently studies the underlying cell-biological mechanisms that regulate dendrite-specific pruning. In her free time, she enjoys game-nights and dinners with friends, going on a run, binge-watching series, taking a day or weekend trip to New York or Boston, and volunteering.