Vivek Kumar is an associate professor at the Jackson Laboratory. He carried out undergraduate research at the University of Chicago with Bob Haselkorn. He received his Ph.D. at the University of California, San Diego working with Michael G. Rosenfeld on structurally and biochemically characterized transcriptional co-repressors. During his postdoctoral work, Kumar trained with Joseph S. Takahashi at Northwestern University and the University of Texas Southwestern and worked on functional genomics approaches to dissect the genetics of complex behaviors such as addiction.
The Kumar lab consists of geneticists, neuroscientists and computer scientists. We are passionate about discovering novel targets and models for mental illness through innovation at the confluence of computational, genetic and genomic methods. Broadly, we are interested in the development of better animal models and animal phenotyping methods for human psychiatric illnesses. We use computer vision approaches to quantify behavior and functional approaches to understand its underlying neuronal and genetic architecture. We have developed high-throughput computer vision-based methods for ethologically-relevant animal phenotyping. In functional genomics work, we use quantitative trait locus (QTL) and mutagenesis approaches to discover novel pathways that can be targeted for addiction therapeutics. Our approaches are flexible and can be applied towards many psychiatric phenotypes. In sum, we are a leading research group using genetics as its foundation and a combination of biochemistry, physiology, imaging and computer vision techniques to dissect complex behavior in mammals.