John-Ross Rizzo, NYU
John-Ross (JR) Rizzo, M.D., M.S.C.I., FACRM is a physician-scientist at NYU Langone Health. He is the Director of Innovation and Technology and Research (Interim) for the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, with cross-appointments in the Department of Neurology, the Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, and the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. He is the single-elected representative of NYU Medical Center at the 2020 MSSNY House of Delegates, a Langone Academy Leadership Program member (~12/faculty body), and also an elected member of the Tenured Faculty Senators Council (TFSC). He leads the Visuomotor Integration Laboratory (VMIL), where his team focuses on eye-hand coordination, as it relates to acquired brain injury, and the Rehabilitation Engineering Alliance and Center Transforming Low Vision Laboratory (REACTIV), where his team focuses on advanced wearables for the sensory deprived and benefits from his own personal experiences with vision loss. He is the Associate Director of Healthcare for the renowned NYU Wireless Laboratory in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at NYU-Tandon. He is also the Founder and Chief Medical Advisor of Tactile Navigation Tools, LLC, where he and his team work incessantly to disrupt the assistive technology space for those with visual impairments of all kinds, enhancing human capabilities.
An active member of the scientific community, Dr. Rizzo serves as the Lead Director of the Mobile Health Platform for Clinical Sciences Core of NIH RECOVER (COVID-19 Long-Haulers), a $470M grant with oversight over 200 institutions. He has also served as the Rusk Rehabilitation Liaison/Lead for the NYU SOM Research Concentration Program (University-wide)
Dr. Rizzo has won numerous awards for his work in disability research, particularly focused on the intersection of ocular motor and appendicular motor control and on assistive technology. Several notable achievements include winning the prestigious Crain’s 40 under 40 award in New York Business for his medical devices, the Forbes and KPMG Medical ‘Re-Writer’ Award for Healthcare (a step above disruption), and for a Smithsonian nomination for People’s Choice for Device Design of the Year. He has also been featured in a number of lay articles and also featured in videos and press releases. In 2018, he was a highlighted speaker in NYU’s TEDx “Re-Vision” Series.
He has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles and has received numerous awards for his work, including the 2022 NIDILRR Switzer Research Fellowship Award, the 2019 American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM) John Stanley Coulter Award, and the 2018 Veterans Health Administration Innovation Ecosystem Shark Tank Competition Winner. Dr. Rizzo’s research has significant implications for the lives of people with disabilities, and his innovative approach to research and development has established him as a leader in the field of rehabilitation medicine.
His research interests include visually guided action (eye-hand motor control) in acquired brain injury (stroke and beyond): quantifying ocular motor control, appendicular motor control and ocular-appendicular motor control (eye-hand coordination/dyscoordination), inclusive of relevant neuroanatomy and neurophysiology. Ocular motor system as a biomarker of cerebral dysfunction: quantifying eye movements as a bioassay of disease state/leveraging efferent vision for diagnosis, prognosis and/or intervention. Technology in Rehabilitation: integrating technology into medical practice to equip clinicians with tools to objectively quantify deficits and to equip patients with devices to maximize recovery. Assistive Technology for those with Disability: building advanced wearables as a platform to deliver a host of microservices, inclusive of three-dimensional mapping, localization, and human-in-the-loop feedback, incorporating novel human machine interfaces (binaural bone conduction headsets and/or torso-based, haptic belts/straps/bookbags).
Dr. Rizzo completed his undergraduate studies in Neuroscience at New York University (NYU) and received his medical degree from New York Medical College. He completed his residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and a Clinical Research Fellowship at NYU Grossman School of Medicine. Dr. Rizzo also holds an associate faculty position in the Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, NYU Tandon School of Engineering, and is affiliated with NYU WIRELESS and the Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP).