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J Eduardo Rico

Assistant Professor

Assistant Professor

Animal & Avian Sciences 3121 Animal Sciences/Ag. Eng. Bldg. 8127 Regents Drive College Park, MD 20742-2311


  • Nutrition and Metabolism
  • Dairy Cattle
  • Metabolic disorders of the peripartum
  • Health-promoting bioactives of milk


  • 2021- Assistant Professor, University of Maryland
  • 2017-2020, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Cornell University
  • 2016-2017, Postdoctoral fellow, West Virginia University
  • 2013-2016, Ph.D., West Virginia University
  • 2011-2013, MSc, Michigan State University
  • 2001-2006, BSc, Universidad Nacional de Colombia

The Rico lab is interested in the exploration of the impacts of nutrition on metabolism and health. Focused primarily in the dairy cow, our research aims to identify nutritional interventions that modulate metabolism and that contribute to optimizing lactation performance, productive life, and cow health. In parallel, our lab studies the effects of nutrition on milk compositional quality, with emphasis in compounds that may be key to promote nutritional security and health in humans and other animal species.

In order to achieve our goals, our lab leverages the advantages of randomized controlled studies (both in vivo and in vitro), as well as observational research. Using targeted and untargeted mass spectrometry-based metabolomics, we aim to comprehensively study the roles of nutrition during both normal and dysfunctional metabolism. 

Feel free to inquire about opportunities to join our team.




Google Scholar:  ‪Eduardo Rico‬ - ‪Google Scholar‬




  1. Rico, J.E., Sandri, E.C., Sarmiento, A.C., Lévesque, J., Kenéz, Á. and Rico, D.E., 2021. Modulation of Plasma and Milk Sphingolipids in Dairy Cows Fed High-Starch Diets. Metabolites11(10), p.711.
  2. Davis, A.N., Myers, W.A., J.E. Rico, J., Feng Wang, L., Chang, C., Richards, A.T., Moniruzzaman, M., Haughey, N.J. and McFadden, J.W., 2021. Effects of serine palmitoyltransferase inhibition by myriocin in ad libitum-fed and nutrient-restricted ewes. J. Anim. Sci. 99, p.skab221.
  3. Myers, W.A., F. Wang, C. Chang, A. N. Davis, J. E. Rico, B. N. Tate, T. L. France, L. F. Wang, and J. W. McFadden. 2021. Intravenous trimethylamine N-oxide infusion does not modify circulating markers of liver health, glucose tolerance, and milk production in early-lactation cows. J. Dairy Sci. TBC:1–8.
  4. Rico, J. E., S. Saed Samii, Y. Zang, P. Deme, N.J. Haughey, Ester Grilli, and J. W. McFadden. 2021. Characterization of the Plasma Lipidome in Dairy Cattle Transitioning from Gestation to Lactation: Identifying Novel Biomarkers of Metabolic Impairment. Metabolites. 11(5), 290.
  5. J. E. Rico, W.A. Myers, A. Javaid, R. Gervais, and J. W. McFadden. 2021. Effects of abomasal infusions of fatty acids and one-carbon donors on apparent fatty acid digestibility and incorporation into milk fat in lactating cows. In press. S0022-0302(21)00261-7. DOI: 10.3168/jds.2020-19643
  6. Fontoura, A. B. P., J. E. Rico, K. M. Keller, J. Siegel, A. N. Davis, W. A. Myers, R. Gervais, and J. W. McFadden. 2021. Effects of lecithin supplementation on milk production and circulating markers of metabolic health in Holstein cows. J. Dairy Sci. 104:1823-1837.
  7. Wang, F*., J. E. Rico*, A. B. P. Fontoura, B. N. Tate, J. W. McFadden. 2021. Effects of soy lecithin on circulating choline metabolite concentrations and phosphatidylcholine profile in Holstein cows. J. Dairy Sci. 104:1838-1845.
  8. Rico, J.E., B. Specker, C. Perry, and J. W. McFadden. 2020. Plasma Ceramides and Triglycerides Are Elevated during Pregnancy in Association with Markers of Insulin Resistancecin Hutterite Women. Lipids. DOI 10.1002/lipd.12247.
  9. Davis, A.N., Myers, W.A., Chang, C., Tate, B.N., Rico, J.E., Moniruzzaman, M., Haughey, N.J. and McFadden, J.W., 2020. Somatotropin increases plasma ceramide in relation to enhanced milk yield in cows. Domestic Animal Endocrinology, p.106480. In press.
  10. McFadden, J.W. and J. E. Rico. Invited review: Sphingolipid biology in the dairy cow: The emerging role of ceramide. J. Dairy Sci. pii: S0022-0302(19)30590-9. doi: 10.3168/jds.2018-16095
  11. Duckett, S.K., I. Furusho-Garcia, J. E. Rico, and J. W. McFadden. 2018. Flaxseed or n-7 enhanced fish oil supplementation alters fatty acid composition, plasma insulin and serum ceramide concentrations, and gene expression in lambs. Lipids. 54:389-399.  
  12. Myers, W., J. E. Rico, A. N. Davis, A. Fontoura, M. Dineen, B. Tate, and J.W. McFadden. 2019. Effects of abomasal infusions of fatty acids and one-carbon donors on hepatic ceramide and phosphatidylcholine levels in lactating Holstein dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci. pii: S0022-0302(19)30495-3. doi: 10.3168/jds.2018-16200. [Epub ahead of print]
  13. Davis, A.N., J. E. Rico, W. A. Myers, M. E. Coleman, M. E. Clapham, N. J. Haughey, and J. W. McFadden. Circulating low-density lipoprotein ceramide concentrations increase in Holstein dairy cows transitioning from gestation to lactation. J. Dairy Sci. 102:5634-5646.
  14. Saed Samii, S., J. E. Rico, A. T. Mathews, A. N. Davis, C. L. Orndorff, L. O. Aromeh  and J. W. McFadden. Effects of body condition score on direct and indirect measurements of insulin sensitivity in periparturient dairy cows. Animal 20:1-9.
  15. Rico, J. E., L. S. Caixeta, N. J. Haughey, S. L. Giesy, Y. R. Boisclair, and J.W. McFadden. 2018. Intravenous triacylglycerol infusion promotes ceramide accumulation and hepatic steatosis. J. Nutr. 148:1529-1535
  16. Rico, J.E., D. J. Laub, W. A. Myers, A. N. Davis, Q. Zeng, and J. W. McFadden. 2018. Hot topic: Ceramide inhibits insulin sensitivity in primary bovine adipocytes.  J. Dairy Sci. 101:3428-3432.
  17. Rico, J.E., Y. Zang, R. E. Cokeley, J. Lovett, N. J. Haughey, and J. W. McFadden. 2018. Short Communication: Circulating fatty acylcarnitines are elevated in hyperlipidemic overweight dairy cows in association with markers of insulin resistance. J. Dairy Sci. 101(1):812-819.
  18. Rico, J.E., S. Saed-Samii, A. T. Mathews, J. Lovett, N. J. Haughey, and J. W. McFadden. 2017. Temporal changes in sphingolipids and insulin systemic sensitivity during the transition from gestation to lactation. PlosOne. 12(5): e0176787.
  19. Phipps, Z. C., F. Seck, A. N. Davis, J. E. Rico, and J. W. McFadden. 2017. Characterization of bovine lipoprotein ceramide. J. Dairy. Sci. 100(10):8602-8608.
  20. Rico, J.E., J. de Souza, C. L. Preseault, M. S. Allen, and A. L. Lock. 2017. Milk production and nutrient digestibility responses to increasing levels of palmitic acid supplementation vary in cows receiving low and high fat diets. J. Anim. Sci. 2017.95:436–446. doi:10.2527/jas2016.1089
  21. Rico, J. E., A. T. Mathews, J. Lovett, N. J. Haughey, and J. W. McFadden. 2016. Palmitic acid feeding increases ceramide supply in association with increased milk yield, circulating NEFA, and adipose tissue responsiveness to a glucose challenge. J. Dairy Sci. 99(11):8817-8830.
  22. A. T. Mathews, J. E. Rico, N. T. Sprenkle, A. L. Lock, and J. W. McFadden. 2016. Increasing palmitic acid intake enhances milk production and prevents glucose-stimulated NEFA disappearance without modifying systemic glucose tolerance in mid-lactation dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci. 99(11):8802-8816.
  23. Rico, J. E., V. V. R. Bandaru, J. M. Dorskind, N. J. Haughey, and J. W. McFadden. 2015. Plasma ceramides are elevated in overweight Holstein dairy cows experiencing greater lipolysis and insulin resistance during the transition from late pregnancy to early lactation. J. Dairy Sci. 98(11), pp.7757-7770.
  24. Rico, J.E., M. S. Allen, and A. L. Lock. 2014. Compared with stearic acid, palmitic acid increased the yield of milk fat and improved feed efficiency across production level of cows. J. Dairy Sci. 97(2):1057-1066
  25. Lock, A.L., C.L. Preseault, J.E. Rico, K.E. DeLand, and M.S. Allen. 2013. Feeding a C16:0-enriched fat supplement increased the yield of milk fat and improved conversion of feed to milk. J. Dairy Sci. 96:6650–6659.
  26. Rico, J. E.,  M. L. Pabón, B. Moreno, and J. E. Carulla. 2007. Composition of the milk fat of the Bogotá´s savannah with emphasis on rumenic acid (cis-9, t. rans-11 CLA). Rev. Col. Cienc. Pec. 20:1, 30-39

Publications in conference proceedings and extension articles

  1. McFadden J.W. and J.E. Rico. 2020. Fatty acid feeding for fresh cows. Progressive Dairy:10-12.
  2. McFadden J.W. and J.E. Rico. 2020. Fatty Acid Biology and Nutrition to Optimize Health and Production.  The 31st annual Florida Ruminant Nutrition Symposium. February 3-5. Gainesville, Florida.
  3. Rico D.E. and J.E. Rico. 2020. The impact of animal products on human health: A 2020 vision of the evidence. Animal Nutrition Conference of Canada. Exploring the link between animal nutrition and animal health. June 11, 2020.
  4. Rico, J. E. and D.E. Rico. 2018. Of Cows and Men: Reviewing the link between dairy fat and human health. Proceedings of the Cornell Nutrition Conference. Syracuse, NY. October 16th-18th, 2018.
  5. J.E. Carulla and J.E. Rico. Perspectives for the use of anabolic implants for meat production under grazing conditions. 2008. “Elanco en el Campo”. Publication from Elanco Animal Health. In spanish.
  6. Rico, J. E., M. L. Pabón, and J. E. Carulla Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA): A new look to milk fat. 2006. Despertar lechero magazine 26 (ISSN 0123-2096): 34-42. In spanish.