Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Anatomy/Cell Biology, WSU School of Medicine
Ashok Kumar, Ph.D., joined the Wayne State community as a postdoctoral scholar in 2004, at the Kresge Eye Institute, and became an assistant professor at Wayne State in 2010. As a research scientist and faculty member, Dr. Kumar has done significant research on host-pathogen interactions in microbial infection, with an emphasis on preventing and treating potential blindness caused by bacteria, fungi and viruses. He has received national recognition for his research on eye damage caused by Zika virus, and most recently a $1.9 million grant from the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health was awarded for one of his projects, “Role of AMP-Activated Protein Kinase in Bacterial Endophthalmitis.” Dr. Kumar and his research team hope to identify novel pathways and new means to treat blinding ocular infections using multidisciplinary methods of microbiology, immunology and biochemistry.
Since becoming the faculty member at WSU, Dr. Kumar has authored 40 peer-reviewed original research articles and two review articles with his students and collaborators, and received the received WSU School of Medicine “2012 Research Excellence Award." He is an active mentor for undergraduate and graduate students, and worked closely with the director of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs in developing policies and career development offerings for postdoctoral trainees. Many of his students/trainees have become actively engaged in his research program and have secured both intramural and extramural funding for their projects, and awards for their research presentation at local and national meetings. In 2013, he was nominated for the “Postdoc Mentor of the Year” award instituted by the dean of the Graduate School, Ambika Mathur. Dean Mathur adds “Dr. Kumar embodies all that trainees seek in great mentors. He is not just advancing the cutting edge of vision research but is committed to training and advancing the careers of his students and has partnered with the Graduate School in our mission of trainees academic and professional development. He demonstrated this passion for helping others even when he was a postdoc himself and based on his determination I personally invited him to serve on the board of the inaugural Postdoctoral Association when we first established a Postdoc Office at Wayne State University. I am proud that Dr. Kumar, one of our own mentees, has now firmly established himself as an internationally renowned researcher and mentor.”