Kumar Lab


The primary focus of Dr. Kumar’s research is to better understand how pregnancy complications affect vascular, metabolic, and placental function and the long-term health of her baby. Normally, much of what a pregnant woman encounters in her daily life — the air she breathes, the food and drink she consumes, her weight and fitness, the chemicals and infections she is exposed to, even the emotions she feels — is shared in some fashion with her fetus. Specifically, Dr. Kumar’s lab is interested in

a) identifying signaling mechanisms linking unhealthy maternal conditions (obesity, stress, smoking, alcohol, hypoxia, etc.), sleep disorders, and environmental pollutants – PFAS, endocrine disruptors) to vascular dysfunction and compromised placental nutrient transport capacity.

b) Examining how these maternal disorders in the pregnant mother relay organizational and structural changes in the fetal heart, vasculature, and pancreas, leading to sex-specific hypertension and diabetic outcomes in adult life.

c) Developing intervention paradigms for improving maternal and long-term fetal health, providing a novel approach to bringing preventive medicine back into the womb. Understanding the sex effects of hypertension and diabetes will provide knowledge for developing sex-specific treatments for these disorders.