Indian American researcher to get White House award


Washington : Sanjay Kumar, an Indian American researcher at California University, Berkeley is among 100 beginning researchers named by President Barack Obama as recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers.

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Kumar, 35, an assistant professor of bioengineering who studies cellular mechanics and biomaterials, and other awardees will receive the highest honour bestowed by the US government on young professionals at a White House ceremony in autumn.

“These extraordinarily gifted young scientists and engineers represent the best in our country,” Obama said. “With their talent, creativity, and dedication, I am confident that they will lead their fields in new breakthroughs and discoveries and help us use science and technology to lift up our nation and our world.”

Winning scientists and engineers receive up to a five-year research grant to further their study in support of critical government missions.

Last year, Kumar received a National Institutes of Health (NIH) award honouring innovative new scientists. The award granted him $1.5 million over the next five years to support his research programme, which combines approaches from biophysics, systems biology and oncology to study how cells sense and process mechanical forces in human health and disease.

One of Kumar’s areas of interest is the development of brain tumors, including malignant gliomas, the most common and aggressive of all primary brain tumors.

Kumar and his research group are combining traditional cell biological approaches with cutting-edge micro- and nanoscale engineering tools to understand how mechanical signals influence the development of glioma cells, neural stem cells and other cell types.

Before joining the Berkeley faculty in 2005, Kumar spent two years as an NIH Research Fellow at Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School. He holds both an M.D. and a Ph.D. in biophysics from Johns Hopkins University.