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?
PhD, Brown University, Providence, United States, 1996
BSc (Honours), St. Stephen's College, University of Delhi, Delhi, India, 1991