Lúcia graduated from University of São Paulo with a Bachelor's degree in Biology (1995), and obtained her Master's and Doctorate degrees in Ecology, Evolution and Systematics from the University of Missouri-St. Louis (1998, 2003) with a specialization in Tropical Biology and Conservation. She then conducted a one-year post-doc at the Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development (CCSD) at the Missouri Botanical Garden (2004). She is currently a professor in the Department of Botany at the University of São Paulo (since 2004), as well as a research associate at the Missouri Botanical Garden and New York Botanical Garden.
Her primary research interest is to understand patterns of plant diversification and biogeography in the Tropics. Her research is highly integrative, combining components of classic taxonomy, phylogenetics, molecular biology, ecology, evolutionary biology, and conservation. Most of her research focuses on the plant family Bignoniaceae, a key component of Tropical forests.