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Hi, welcome to Rico's website. I'm an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at New York University (starting Fall 2018) broadly interested in cell-scale physical biology. I combine experimental and theoretical approaches to understand fundamental physicochemical processes in a range of organisms including bacteria, plants, fungi, and humans. I'm also interested in applying quantitative approaches to health-related problems in developing countries. Please see below for some of the projects in which I'm involved.
Colored Cells Turgor-driven Processes
Turgor pressure, the large hydrostatic pressure within a cell, is an attribute of nearly all non-animal organisms. I study examples across the tree of life in which organisms harness turgor in order to perform fundamental physical processes such as cell growth and division. This research represents an interesting example of convergent evolution, in which distantly related organisms have arrived at common strategies to perform these processes, due to the constraints of physics.
Bangladesh The Ecology of Vibrio cholerae in Bangladesh
Bangladesh, a low-lying deltaic country in South Asia, suffers from devastating bi-annual cholera epidemics, and is the source of 6 out of the 7 global cholera pandemics in recorded history. I am currently living in Bangladesh, studying the ecological factors that make Vibrio cholerae, the bacterium that causes cholera, such a successful pathogen. In particular, I am testing the hypothesis that other micro-organisms in the water column contribute to the onset of cholera epidemics.
Nepal Health and Medical Education in Nepal
The majority of people in Nepal live in remote areas where they practice traditional subsistence farming. This beautiful way of life has defied development, but has also precluded modern medicine from reaching these areas. I work with the Patan Academy of Health Sciences, a medical school dedicated to improving health in Nepal's poorest and most remote regions. At PAHS, I taught basic sciences and was part of a team that overhauled the basic sciences curriculum.