Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineeing
Professor and Associate Chair, Department of Bioengineering
Faculty Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Biomaterials, Molecular and Cellular Bioengineering, Stem Cells, Cancer Biology, Translational Medicine
My research team and I seek to understand and control biophysical communication between cells and their surroundings. In addition to investigating fundamental aspects of this problem, we are especially interested in understanding the role played by cellular mechanobiological signaling in tumor and stem cell biology in the central nervous system. Two important recent directions for our work have been to leverage the tools of synthetic biology to "rewire" cell-environment communication by placing mechanobiological signaling systems under the control of one or more small-molecule inducers and repressors, and to synthesize or fabricate new tissue-mimetic culture platforms for biophysical studies and molecular screening. Finally, we are very interested in developing new materials based on cellular structural networks that may have broader applications in biotechnology and soft materials science.
Sanjay Kumar earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering (1996) from the University of Minnesota, and both an M.D. (2003) and Ph.D. in Molecular Biophysics (2003) from Johns Hopkins University as a fellow of the NIH Medical Scientist Training Program. From 2003-2005, he served as an NIH research fellow at Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School. He was appointed Assistant Professor of Bioengineering at UC Berkeley in 2005 and eventually promoted to Full Professor in 2014. He has been the Associate Chair of Bioengineering since 2015 and previously directed the UC Berkeley - UCSF Master of Translational Medicine and Bioengineering PhD Programs. He is also a Faculty Scientist in the Biological Systems & Engineering Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Dr. Kumar and his research group have been fortunate to receive a number of honors, including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), The NIH Director's New Innovator Award, The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Young Investigator Award, the NSF CAREER Award, the Stem Cells Young Investigator Award, and the Hellman Family Faculty Fund Award. He is an elected Fellow of the AIMBE.