Dr. Mukesh Kumar is an Instructor in the Department of Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology and Pharmacology, and Associate Director of the John A. Burns School of Medicine Biocontainment Facility (JBF) at University of Hawaii at Manoa. He is a trained veterinarian with a Ph.D in Tropical Medicine. He conducts Independent research as well as assists other independent principal investigators, graduate students and technicians in conducting their research projects in the JBF. As a competent virologist and astute researcher, he has extensive experience in classical and molecular microbiological techniques. He works to ensure the day-to-day running of the facility, re-certification of the facility, and processing permit applications. He is involved in developing standard operating protocols, standardizing new techniques related to the BSL-3 pathogens and select agents and training faculty, students and technical staff.
He has published several outstanding papers in top International journals and his research findings are widely cited. He regularly reviews for leading scientific journals such as PLoS One, Virology and Viruses. He was invited to present his findings at several prestigious National and International meetings and received many prestigious and competitive awards. He is a member of several National and International societies such as American Society for Virology, American Society for Microbiology, Society for Neuroscience, Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies and American Association of Immunologists etc. He is currently serving as the Secretary of American Society for Microbiology, Hawaii Branch.
He conducts research on various emerging pathogens including West Nile virus (WNV), Japanese Encephalitis virus and hantaviruses using cell culture models, mouse models and biological specimens. Dr. Kumarís work encompasses both basic research in trying to understand more thoroughly how these agents cause disease and how the human immune system responds to these infections, and more directed research in developing and evaluating vaccines and other tools to prevent infection by these agents. He investigates the efficacy of anti-inflammatory drugs such as commonly used cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors as a potential therapeutic target to manage WNV encephalitis. Another area of his research is to understand the mechanisms underlying differential pathogenesis of lethal and non-lethal WNV strains. Dr. Kumarís work for the first time evaluated the effect of diabetes mellitus on the susceptibility and immune response to WNV infection, which is very significant for the development of effective therapeutics not only for management of WNV in diabetics but also other infections in diabetics as well.
He is collaborating Internationally and has contributed to the development of a rapid, sensitive luminex-based test for the diagnosis of WNV, new anti-WNV drugs and potential biomarkers to predict severe hantavirus-associated diseases. His work also involves developing novel small animal models to study infectious pathogens.
Infectious diseases specifically viral immunopathogenesis and virus-host interactions; Development of a rapid-sensitive luminex-based test for the diagnosis of WNV, new anti-WNV drugs and potential biomarkers; Novel small animal models to study infectious pathogens.