Sanjay Kumar named QB3-Berkeley director

September 5, 2022

Sanjay Kumar

Professor Kumar photographed at UC Berkeley. (Photo Annie Lin)

This week UC Berkeley’s office for the Vice Chancellor for Research announced that Professor Sanjay Kumar has been selected to serve as the next director of the California Institute of Quantitative Biosciences at UC Berkeley (QB3-Berkeley) effective September 1, 2022, following a campuswide search chaired by Professor Susan Marqusee. 

Kumar will succeed David Schaffer, who was recently appointed as faculty director of the Bakar BioEnginuity Hub and executive director of QB3’s central office.

Sanjay Kumar, MD, PhD, joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 2005 and has been Chancellor’s Professor and Chair of the Department of Bioengineering since 2019. He holds joint appointments in the UC Berkeley Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, the UCSF Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, and at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. In 1996, Kumar earned his B.S. in chemical engineering at the University of Minnesota and in 2003, he earned his M.D. and Ph.D. in molecular biophysics from Johns Hopkins University. He then completed postdoctoral training at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Kumar’s research program focuses on understanding and engineering cell mechanobiology and cell-biomaterial interfaces, particularly in the context of brain cancer and stem cell technology.  He has co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and mentored more than 30 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. He and his lab have been recognized with the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, the Beckman Young Investigator Award, the NSF CAREER Award, and the Stem Cells Young Investigator Award. Kumar is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering , and the Biomedical Engineering Society.

QB3-Berkeley is one of four Governor Gray Davis Institutes for Science and Innovation established in 2000 to ensure the future of the California economy by promoting research and innovation. QB3 is a cooperative effort between the state of California, private industry, venture capital, and the University of California campuses at Berkeley, San Francisco, and Santa Cruz.

QB3-Berkeley harnesses the quantitative sciences of physics and engineering to unify our understanding of biological systems at all levels of complexity, from atoms and molecules to cells, tissues, and entire living organisms. Its goals are to fuel the California bioeconomy; to support research and training in quantitative biosciences; and to translate academic research into products and services that benefit society.