Natalia Rivera, PhD, is a geneticist specializing in the genetics and genomics of sarcoidosis, with extensive experience in studying complex human diseases. She completed her undergraduate training in electrical and biomedical engineering at Syracuse University in 1999, followed by a Master of Science from Rutgers University in 2004. Awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Fellowship in 2004, she pursued further graduate studies in biomedical engineering at Virginia Tech.


In 2007, Dr. Rivera relocated to the National Research Council of Italy in Rome to delve into cardiovascular genetics research. Subsequently, she pursued doctoral studies in molecular medicine at the University of Milan, focusing on the genetics of cardiovascular diseases, defending her thesis on "Genetics of Left Ventricular Hypertrophy" in 2012. Additionally, she earned a Master of Science in Health Sciences with a specialization in Genetic Epidemiology from Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands, in 2011.


Her postdoctoral fellowship at Karolinska Institutet in 2013 focused on the genetics of irritable bowel syndrome and gene regulation. Joining Professor Johan Grunewald's lab in 2014, she collaborated with Dr. Leonid Padyukov on sarcoidosis genetics. Promoted to Assistant Professor in 2018, Dr. Rivera advanced her research on sarcoidosis genetics across populations and biomarker identification. She founded the Multi-Ethnic Sarcoidosis Genomics Consortium (MESARGEN) and chaired the WASOG 2023 Stockholm conference.