Portrait of Nuris Figueroa Morales
Assistant Professor

Research Interests

In our lab, we study the complex interactions between microorganisms and their environment. Using tools of microfluidics, quantitative video microscopy and image analysis we investigate the transport of microorganisms: from natural and complex environments, like viscoelastic and anisotropic body fluids; to the effect of the topology of the confining structures, like medical catheters or porous media; to untapping the potential of new “active” systems propelled by swimming microorganisms. Our multidisciplinary lab aims at preventing microorganism-borne medical conditions, developing novel live materials, and utilizing microorganisms for cleaning the environment.


  • 2017 – PhD, Sorbonne University, France - Physics
  • 2013 – MS, University of Havana, Cuba - Physics
  • 2010 – BS, University of Havana, Cuba - Physics

Awards and Honors

  • 2023 Boettcher Webb-Waring Biomedical Research Award for Early Career Investigators. Colorado, USA
  • 2014 Best Poster Prize at the “565th WE-Heraeus-Seminar on Statistical Physics of Self-Propelled Particles: Theory and Experiments.” Bad Honnef, Germany. 
  • 2013 Full PhD scholarship from the “Pierre-Gilles de Gennes Foundation for Research,” Paris, France. 
  • 2010 Summa Cum Laude, awarded for the academic record 5.15 out of 5. Selected “Best Student Researcher” of the Physics Department 2010 promotion. University of Havana, Cuba. 
  • 2005 Gold Medal at the X Iberoamerican Physics Olympiad. Competition held in Uruguay, 2005 (22 Countries). Gold Medal at the National Physics Olympiad, Cuba. 

Selected publications

  1. N. Figueroa-Morales, R. Soto, G. Junot, T. Darnige, C. Douarche, V. Martinez, A. Lindner, and E. Clément, “3D spatial exploration by E. coli echoes motor temporal variability,” Phys. Rev. X, vol 10, no. 2, p. 021004, 2020.
  2. N. Figueroa-Morales, A. Rivera, R. Soto, A. Lindner, E. Altshuler, and E. Clément, “E. coli "super-contaminates" narrow ducts fostered by broad run-time distribution,” Science Advances, vol. 6, no. 11, eaay0155, 2020.
  3. N. Figueroa-Morales, L. Dominguez-Rubio, T. L. Ott, and I. S. Aranson, “Mechanical shear controls bacterial penetration in mucus,” Scientific reports, vol. 9, no. 1, p. 9713, 2019.
  4. A. J. Mathijssen, N. Figueroa-Morales, G. Junot, É. Clément, A. Lindner, and A. Zöttl, “Oscillatory surface rheotaxis of swimming E. coli bacteria,” Nature communications, vol. 10, no. 1, p. 3434, 2019.
  5. N. Figueroa-Morales, G. L. Mino, A. Rivera, R. Caballero, E. Clément, E. Altshuler, and A. Lindner, “Living on the edge: transfer and traffic of E. coli in a confined flow,” Soft matter, vol. 11, no. 31, pp. 6284–6293, 2015.