Vivek Kumar

Here's my CV.

The Kumar Lab focuses on Biomaterials Drug, Discovery, Delivery and Development. These build off his graduate work in collagen based soft tissue mimics, and post-doctoral work in multidomain peptides. Vivek is very interested in translational research and all aspects of bench to bedside/ chairside.

My interests lie in inflammation modulation, angiogenesis, drug delivery, dental tissue engineering, and soft tissue engineering.

A 3rd person account:

Vivek Kumar received his bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from Northwestern University in 2006, and doctorate degree in biomedical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2011. His expertise is in the area of tissue engineering, drug development and delivery, and specific research interests are in the area of inflammation modulation and angiogenesis, especially in understanding the role of small growth factor or cytokine mimics’ ability to signal biological processes. He is the co-author of over 30 peer-reviewed journal articles, over 2 dozen abstracts, co-inventor on over a half dozen patents/applications, and serial entrepreneur (2 startups to-date). Dr. Kumar has served at the New Jersey Institute of Technology as an Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering with courtesy appointments in the Chemical Engineering department and the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine. In addition to teaching a graduate class in Biomedical Translation and Entrepreneurship, Dr. Kumar teaches Advanced Biomaterials to budding Undergraduate Tissue Engineers. Dr. Kumar strives to encourage research involvement in undergraduate pedagogy, developed holistic and well-rounded bioengineers, capable of interacting, adapting and contributing to the rapidly changing research arena. From biomaterials design, drug discovery to drug delivery – research in the KumarLab (kumarlab.njit.edu) aims at translating technologies in startups (nangiotx.com) towards treating a wide array of pathologies. To this end, Dr. Kumar has served on numerous NSF SBIR/STTR panels and journal reviews. For those who made it this far into the abstract – check out my latest start-up in a completely different space – Parking! (pullupapp.io)

Undergraduate research:

My undergraduate research was performed in the laboratory of Prof. Guillermo Ameer, Sc.D. in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern University. My work originally began with the synthesis and characterization of novel bioelastomers based on octandiol and citric acid (POC). Owing to its poly-functionality – the three carboxylic acid groups of citric acid allowed for crosslinking of both hydroxyl groups of the 1,8-octandiol. The remaining hydroxyl and carboxylic acid groups of the citric acid were available for further crosslinking into strong elastomers that were hydrolysable in vitro and in vivo. I utilized sacrificial salt leaching and urea crystals for the formation of interconnected porous micro-networks. Later work involved the use of poly-L-lactic acid and POC to create composites with enhanced mechanical properties that were suitable for reconstitution of soft tissue.

Graduate research:

My graduate work was in the laboratory of Prof. Elliot Chaikof, M.D.,Ph.D. in the Department of Bioengineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Department of Vascular Surgery at Emory University Hospital, and subsequently in the Department of Surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School. I was given the liberty to pursue a wide variety of materials related research projects with the primary focus on treating vascular pathologies. I began my research by exploring liquid embolic agents, which I designed to be in situ gelling in the belly of an aneurysm. These elastin mimetic materials would emulate the elasticity of native vasculature while being thermally responsive for delivery. Materials would be injected via catheter directly into sac-like protrusions from blood vessels inhibiting blood flow, preventing bursting. Concurrently I worked on developing wet spinning and electrospinning technologies for collagen nano- and micro-fiber production. In collaboration with Prof. Mark Allen in the MEMs and Electrical Engineering Department at GATech, we were able to induce microcrimps into the collagen fibers to mimic native tissue collagen crimp. I then used work with elastin mimetics and collagen fiber weaving technology to generate a series of materials for use as abdominal wall replacements, and as vascular grafts. In the second half of my PhD, I developed a novel collagen dehydration technique that resulted in thin (15-50µm thick sheets) collagen membranes that have megapascal strength. These nanostructured membranes offered a variety of potential applications ranging from structural anisotropy using excimer lasers, in vivo musculofascial replacements, and in vivo vascular tissue engineering. In addition to the work directly related to my thesis, I was given the opportunity to work closely with several collaborators on a variety of projects ranging from microfabrication, modifying vascular graft surfaces, coating Islet cells, and neuronal regeneration.

Post-Doctoral research:

My post-doctoral work is in the laboratory of Prof. Jeffrey Hartgerink, Ph.D. in the Department of Chemistry at Rice University. Here I investigate the use of multi-domain peptides for tissue engineering. Through the use of hemocompatiblity assays, I was able to demonstrate the utility of synthetic collagen for clotting blood, published in Biomacromolecules. Concurrently I worked on developing scaffolds for dental and craniofacial reconstruction as well as modulating inflammation and angiogenesis, guided in part by Prof. Rena D’Souza, Dean of the University of Utah Dental School. I designed molecularly defined self-assembling peptides and investigated loading with a variety of growth factors and cytokines to modulate the in vivo inflammatory environment and stimulate angiogenesis. Additionally, I noted the potential for these peptides to act as active vehicles for in situ delivery of polyionic drugs that can be delivered post excision surgery in oncologic settings to prevent neo-plastic tissue disease.