Tuberculosis remains a threat to global health, killing ~2 million people every year. The causative agent of tuberculosis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, is thought to infect one-third of the world's population, sickening ~10 million people a year. Despite efforts to simplify treatment strategies, tuberculosis still requires months of multi-drug therapy to cure. Our research focuses on designing optimized therapies for TB using cell biology and engineering approaches. Our lab is a multidisciplinary research team, integrating quantitative measurement with computational modeling and analysis to create intuitive descriptions of complex cell biology. We focus our studies on (1) characterizing single-cell determinants of mycobacterial drug tolerance, (2) understanding how growth heterogeneity is controlled, and (3) engineering combination therapy.
I no longer maintain an active research laboratory and do not accept dissertation students. I remain active in teaching, mentoring and other graduate program activities.
My research focused on excessive proliferation of smooth muscle cells, a hallmark of many diseases, including atherosclerosis, restenosis following vascular surgery, hypertension, fibroids, asthma, and several congenital defects.
Dendritic cells found in the eye with special emphasis on the function of these cells in corneal transplantation, neurotrophic keratitis, and herpetic keratitis
Clinical trials that use confocal microscopy in various types of infectious keratitis and dry eye disease
Bone and cartilage growth and remodeling, repair in response to injury, and grafting.
Skeletal tissue engineering.
Bone and soft tissue biomechanics.
Bone inductive and mitotic proteins.
Ligament and tendon physiology and response to injury.
Orthopedic device development.
Animal models of orthopedic disease.
Joint disease and interventions.
Percutaneous treatment of cardiac disease.
Animal models of cardiac disease.
Bioorganic Chemistry and Chemical Biology
The research interests of the Kumar laboratory are centered on the (1) use of chemistry to design molecules to interrogate and illuminate fundamental mechanisms in biology, or be used as therapeutics; and (2) use of biology to "evolve" and "select" molecules that can perform chemistry in non-biological and medicinal settings.
These are some questions we are trying to answer: (i) Is it possible to design and mimic natural proteins and other biological macromolecules by use of building blocks that nature does not use – and whether such constructs can be endowed with properties that are not found in biology?; (ii) How did the first enzymes arise in the imagined Darwin's pond – is there a way to recreate this scenario and in the process develop a fundamentally new method to create enzymes?; (iii) Biology uses phase separation, that is, clustering of different compounds in confined locations – a process that is key in orchestrating the daily activities of a cell – can we find methods that can predictably dictate where molecules are located in a given environment and thereby direct the phenotype that is generated?; (iv) Can we rationally design small molecules and peptides that can function against antibiotic resistant bacteria that are threatening the most basic tenet of modern medicine?
Signal and image processing, tomographic image formation and object characterization, inverse problems, regularization, statistical signal and imaging processing, and computational physical modeling. Applications explored include medical imaging and image analysis, environmental monitoring and remediation, landmine and unexploded ordnance remediation, and automatic target detection and classification.
Engineering for Health, Mechanics of biomaterials at the nanoscale, Synthesis and study of functionals nanomaterials for biomedical imaging and drug delivery, Advanced imaging for medical diagnostics, Novel processes and materials for dentistry: nano-polishing and self-healing materials
Flexible bioelectronics, Biomedical microdevices, Biomedical circuits and systems, micro and nano fabrication, lab-on-chip microsystems, global health and precision medicine, CMOS image sensors for scientific imaging, analog to information converters, active metamaterial devices, circuits, and systems, terahertz devices and circuits
Research in my laboratory focuses on mineralized tissue development, homeostasis, disease and regeneration. Our research models include the zebrafish, Danio rerio, mammalian models including pig, mouse and rat, human healthy and diseased tissues, and three dimensions (3D) in vitro and in vivo tissue engineering models for human cartilage, bone and tooth tissue engineering.
Drug Delivery and Controlled Release Technologies
Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Technologies
Drug product development for therapeutic proteins. Application of biophysical and thermodynamic approaches to formulation development. Physical and chemical stability of proteins, ligand binding and linkage. Drug-device integration.