Scientist » Dr. Sanjay Kumar

Sanjay Kumar  


Centre for Stem Cell Research
Christian Medical College

Office: +91 416 307-5115
Lab: +91 416 307-5116
Fax: +91 416 307-5103

Career Interests

Tissue-specific targeting of MSC, ex-vivo modified MSC using AAV vectors for Gene therapy applications, Biological Characteristics of subset of stem/progenitors in spinal cord and bone marrow.


  • 2003-2010: Research Associate at Department of Pathology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA.
  • 2000-2002: Post Doctoral Fellow, University of South Florida at Tampa, Tampa, Florida, USA.
  • 1998-1999: Post Doctoral Fellow, Tufts University Medical Center, Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA, USA.
  • 1993-1998: PhD [Molecular Biology/ Biochemistry]-1999, Department of Botany, Delhi University, Delhi, India.
  • 1991-1993: M.Sc [Biotechnology]-1993, Goa University, Goa, India.


  • 2010 Ramalingaswami Fellowship, Department of Biotechnology, Government of India.
  • 2001 Career Enhancement Young Investigator Award.
  • 1998 Gold Medal and Professor Rangaswami Best Ph.D. thesis award from Delhi University, Delhi, India.
  • 1993 National test of CSIR/UGC Fellowship.


Adult human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) are of intense therapeutic interest because they represent a population of cells with potential to treat a wide range of acute and degenerative disease. The advantage of hMSCs is that they are immuno-modulatory and versatile due to their secreted bioactive molecules that have regenerative propensity at the same time anti-inflammatory in nature. These cells have the potential to orchestrate reparative processes in injured or diseased tissues. Much of the uniqueness and diversity of hMSCs is defined by their response to the milieu of injured tissue. hMSCs are sensitive to their site-specific microenvironment, and it is anticipated that they will deliver the bioactive agents in a site-specific manner quite different from the way pharmaceutical drugs work.

As part of the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (inStem), here at Center for Stem Cell Research, Christian Medical College Vellore, our lab focuses on the biology and therapeutic applications of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC). Defined subsets of multipotent stem cells derived from primary human sources (human placenta, umbilical cord, bone marrow or cord blood) are studied in various functional and molecular aspects. We test the therapeutic potential of these primary MSC in one of the frequently used NOD/Scid mouse models for human MSC transplantation with respect to its potential clinical relevance and the option to study different cellular compartments inside the spinal cord injury and BM. In parallel, we try to investigate molecular interplay between pathologic stem cells with regard to their interaction with the micro-environmental cues (specific signaling molecules regulating ECM, pluripotent progenitors, stromal cells etc.) A variety of state of Art techniques to characterize human MSC and other stem/progenitor cells are available. Specific projects address the role of MSC in treating pathologic conditions in mice models.

If you are interested in a specific project, are looking for a PhD or Postdoc position or want to set up a collaborative project do not hesitate to contact us.

With best regards!

Sanjay Kumar

Research Fellows

Balasubramaniam Balasubramaniam

Senior Research Fellow
Research Interests:

Franklin Jebaraj Herbert Franklin Jebaraj Herbert

Junior Research Fellow
Research Interests: Direct Reprogramming, PTEN-PI3K-AKT-mTOR Signalling & Modulation, Spinal Cord Regeneration
Education: M.Sc. Genomics. Centre For Excellence in Genomic Sciences, Madurai Kamaraj University.

Rishav Seal Rishav Seal

Junior Research Fellow
Research Interests:
Education: M.Sc. Molecular Biology & Genetics, Presidency University.





Selected Publications

  • Vikram Sabapathy, Joythsna Mentam, Paul Mazhuvanchary Jacob, Kumar S. Noninvasive Optical Imaging and In Vivo Cell Tracking of Indocyanine Green Labeled Human Stem Cells Transplanted at Superficial or In-Depth Tissue of SCID Mice. Stem Cells Int. 2015;2015:606415.
  • Vikram Sabapathy, George Tharion, Kumar S. Cell Therapy Augments Functional Recovery Subsequent to Spinal Cord Injury under Experimental Conditions. Stem Cells Int. 2015;2015:132172.
  • Kumar S. Bone defect repair in mice by mesenchymal stem cells. Methods Mol Biol. 2014; 1213:193-207.
  • Andea AA, Patel R, Ponnazhagan S, Isayeva T, Kumar S, Siegal GP. Detection of Merkel cell polyomavirus in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue of Merkel cell carcinoma and correlation with prognosis. Rom J Morphol Embryol, 2014, 55 (3 Suppl):3-6.
  • Vikram Sabapathy, Balasubramanian Sundaram, Sreelakshmi VM, Pratheesh Mankuzhy, Kumar S. Human Wharton’s Jelly Mesenchymal Stem Cells Plasticity Augments Scar-Free Skin Wound Healing with Hair Growth. PLoS One. 2014 Apr 15;9(4) e93726.
  • George VC, Ragupathi D, Kumar N, Suresh PK, Kumar S, Ashok Kumar R. Comparative Studies to Evaluate Relative in vitro Potency of Luteolin in Inducing Cell Cycle Arrest and Apoptosis in HaCaT and A375 Cells. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2013;14(2):631-7.
  • Kumar S, Ponnazhagan S. Bone healing by endogenous stem cell mobilization. Bone, September 2012 Volume 51, Issue 3, Page 635.
  • Kumar S, Ponnazhagan S. Mobilization of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells in vivo augments bone healing in a mouse model of segmental bone defect. Bone. 2012 Apr; 50(4):1012-8.
  • Sabapathy V, Ravi S, Srivastava V, Srivastava A, Kumar S. Long-term cultured human term placenta-derived mesenchymal stem cells of maternal origin displays plasticity. Stem Cells Int. 2012:174328.Mar 26.
  • Kumar S, Ponnazhagan S. Mobilization of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells in vivo augments bone healing in a mouse model of segmental bone defect. Bone. 2012 Apr; 50(4):1012-8.
  • Sabapathy V, Ravi S, Srivastava V, Srivastava A, Kumar S. Long-term cultured human term placenta-derived mesenchymal stem cells of maternal origin displays plasticity. Stem Cells Int. 2012;2012:174328.Mar 26.
  • Lee JH, Moore LD, Kumar S, Pritchard DG, Ponnazhagan S, Deivanayagam C. Bacteriophage hyaluronidase effectively inhibits growth, migration and invasion by disrupting hyaluronan-mediated Erk1/2 activation and RhoA expression in human breast carcinoma cells. Cancer Lett. 2010 Dec 8;298(2):238-49.
  • Andea AA, Patel R, Ponnazhagan S, Kumar S, DeVilliers P, Jhala D, Eltoum IE, Siegal GP. Merkel cell carcinoma: correlation of KIT expression with survival and evaluation of KIT gene mutational status. Hum Pathol. 2010 Oct;41(10):1405-12.
  • Chanda D, Kumar S, Ponnazhagan S. Therapeutic potential of adult bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells in diseases of the skeleton. J Cell Biochem. 2010 Oct 1;111(2):249-57.
  • Kumar S, Wan C, Ramaswamy G, Clemens TL, Ponnazhagan S. Mesenchymal stem cells expressing osteogenic and angiogenic factors synergistically enhance bone formation in a mouse model of segmental bone defect. Mol Ther. 2010 May;18(5):1026-34.
  • Chanda D, Isayeva T, Kumar S, Hensel JA, Sawant A, Ramaswamy G, Siegal GP, Beatty MS, Ponnazhagan S.Therapeutic potential of adult bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells in prostate cancer bone metastasis. Clin Cancer Res. 2009 Dec 1;15(23):7175-85.
  • Kumar S, Nagy TR, Ponnazhagan S. Therapeutic potential of genetically modified adult stem cells for osteopenia. Gene Ther. 2010 Jan;17(1):105-16.
  • Ren C, Kumar S, Chanda D, Chen J, Mountz JD, Ponnazhagan S. Therapeutic potential of mesenchymal stem cells producing interferon-alpha in a mouse melanoma lung metastasis model.Stem Cells. 2008 Sep;26(9):2332-8.
  • Ren C, Kumar S, Chanda D, Kallman L, Chen J, Mountz JD, Ponnazhagan S. Cancer gene therapy using mesenchymal stem cells expressing interferon-beta in a mouse prostate cancer lung metastasis model.Gene Ther. 2008 Nov;15(21):1446-53.
  • Chanda D, Isayeva T, Kumar S, Siegal GP, Szafran AA, Zinn KR, Reddy VV, Ponnazhagan S. Systemic osteoprotegerin gene therapy restores tumor-induced bone loss in a therapeutic model of breast cancer bone metastasis. Mol Ther. 2008 May;16(5):871-8.
  • Kumar S, Chanda D, Ponnazhagan S. Therapeutic potential of genetically modified mesenchymal stem cells. Gene Ther. 2008 May;15(10):711-5.
  • Katkoori VR, Jia X, Chatla C, Kumar S, Ponnazhagan S, Callens T, Messiaen L, Grizzle WE, Manne U. Clinical significance of a novel single nucleotide polymorphism in the 5' untranslated region of the Rabphillin-3A-Like gene in colorectal adenocarcinoma. Front Biosci. 2008 Jan1;13:1050-61.
  • Kumar S, Ponnazhagan S. Bone homing of mesenchymal stem cells by ectopic alpha 4 integrin expression. FASEB J. 2007 Dec;21(14):3917-27.
  • Kumar S, Mahendra G, Ponnazhagan S. Determination of osteoprogenitor-specific promoter activity in mouse mesenchymal stem cells by recombinant adeno-associated virus transduction. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2005 Nov 10;1731(2):95-103.
  • Ren C, Kumar S, Shaw DR, Ponnazhagan S. Genomic stability of self-complementary adeno-associated virus 2 during early stages of transduction in mouse muscle in vivo. Hum Gene Ther.2005 Sep;16(9):1047-57.
  • Aldrich WA, Ren C, White AF, Zhou SZ, Kumar S, Jenkins CB, Shaw DR, Strong TV, Triozzi PL, Ponnazhagan S. Enhanced transduction of mouse bone marrow-derived dendritic cells by repetitive infection with self-complementary adeno-associated virus 6 combined with immunostimulatory ligands. Gene Ther. 2006 Jan;13(1):29-39.
  • Kumar S, Mahendra G, Nagy TR, Ponnazhagan S. Osteogenic differentiation of recombinant adeno-associated virus 2-transduced murine mesenchymal stem cells and development of an immunocompetent mouse model for ex vivo osteoporosis gene therapy. Hum Gene Ther. 2004 Dec;15(12):1197-206.
  • Kumar S, Ponnazhagan S. Gene therapy for osteoinduction. Curr Gene Ther. 2004 Sep;4(3):287-96.
  • Mahendra G, Kumar S, Isayeva T, Mahasreshti PJ, Curiel DT, Stockardt CR, Grizzle WE, Alapati V, Singh R, Siegal GP, Meleth S, Ponnazhagan S. Antiangiogenic cancer gene therapy by adeno-associated virus 2-mediated stable expression of the soluble FMS-like tyrosine kinase-1 receptor. Cancer Gene Ther. 2005 Jan;12(1):26-34.
  • Ponnazhagan S, Mahendra G, Lima J, Aldrich WA, Jenkins CB, Ren C, Kumar S, Kallman L, Strong TV, Shaw DR, Triozzi PL. Augmentation of antitumor activity of a recombinant adeno-associated virus carcinoembryonic antigen vaccine with plasmid adjuvant. Hum Gene Ther. 2004 Sep;15(9):856-64.
  • Isayeva T, Kumar S, Ponnazhagan S. Anti-angiogenic gene therapy for cancer. Int J Oncol. 2004 Aug;25(2):335-43.
  • Ponnazhagan S, Mahendra G, Kumar S, Shaw DR, Stockard CR, Grizzle WE, Meleth S. Adeno-associated virus 2-mediated antiangiogenic cancer gene therapy: long-term efficacy of a vector encoding angiostatin and endostatin over vectors encoding a single factor. Cancer Res. 2004 Mar 1;64(5):1781-7.
  • Ponnazhagan S, Mahendra G, Kumar S, Thompson JA, Castillas M Jr. Conjugate-based targeting of recombinant adeno-associated virus type 2 vectors by using avidin-linked ligands. J Virol. 2002 Dec;76(24):12900-7.

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