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Alok Kumar Ph.D.

  • Postdoctoral Associate, Delgoffe Lab

    Education & Training

  • Ph.D. - Immunology - Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan (2020)
  • M.Sc. - Biotechnology - Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, India (2013)
  • B.Sc. - Biotechnology - Sikkim Manipal University, India (2010)
Representative Publications
  1. Metabolic reprogramming via an engineered PGC-1α improves human chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapy against solid tumors. Konstantinos Lontos, Yiyang Wang, Andrew T Frisch, McLane J Watson, Alok Kumar, Ashley Menk, Yupeng Wang, Benjamin Boyerinas, and Greg M Delgoffe. Journal of Immunotherapy of Cancer, 2022 (in press).
  2. Fully murine CD105-targeted CAR-T cells provide an immunocompetent model for CAR-T cell biology. Konstantinos Lontos, Yiyang Wang, Mason Colbert, Alok Kumar, Supriya Joshi, Mary Philbin, Yupeng Wang, Andrew Frisch, Jason Lohmueller, Dayana B. Rivadeneira, Greg M. Delgoffe. Cell Reports, 2022 (In press).
  3. Partha S. Chowdhury, Alok Kumar, Kenji Chamoto, Tasuku Honjo. Activation of PPAR gamma isoform boosts the efficacy of PD-1 blockade by inducing mitochondrial activity in CD8+ T cell.  [Under review in Cancer Science].
  4. Alok Kumar, Madhu Malinee. Nanoparticles in Immunotherapy Against Cancer. [Standford Publications; in press].
  5. Alok Kumar, Kenji Chamoto, Partha S. Chowdhury, Tasuku Honjo. Tumors attenuating T cell mitochondria escape from PD-1 blockade therapy [eLife Sciences, 2020; DOI: 10.7554/eLife.52330]; [My first author Ph.D. paper].
  6. Alok Kumar, Kenji Chamoto. Immune metabolism in PD-1 blockade-based cancer immunotherapy. [International Immunology, 2020; DOI: 10.1093/intimm/dxaa046]
  7. Poornima Dubey, Deepa Garg, Ishita Matai, Alok Kumar. Trending approaches in electrospinning and electrospraying for biomedical applications [Woodhead Publishing Series in Biomaterials, 2021, Pages 333-354;]. 
  8. Mahak Bansal, Alok Kumar, Madhu Malinee, Tarun Kumar Sharma. Nanomedicine: Current status and future prospects. [January 2020, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-29207-2_9; Nanoscience in Medicine Vol. 1, Chapter 9, Springer International Publishing].
  9. Alok Kumar, Madhu Malinee. Mitochondrial manipulation improves anti-tumor immunity. [Acta Scientific Cancer Biology 3.12 (2019):28-30.]
  10. Madhu Malinee, Alok Kumar, Takuya Hidaka, Masanobu Horie, Kouichi Hasegawa, Masatoshi Hagiwara, Ganesh N Pandian and Hiroshi Sugiyama. Targeted suppression of metastasis regulatory transcription factor SOX2 in various cancer cell lines using a sequence-specific designer pyrrole–imidazole polyamide [Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, 2019; doi: 10.1016/j.bmc.2019.115248]
  11. Alok Kumar*, Madhu Malinee*, Abhijeet Dhiman, Amit Kumar, Tarun Kumar Sharma. Aptamer technology for the detection of food borne pathogens and toxins. Advanced Biosensors for Health Care: Materials and Applications Book [*Shared first author] [June 2019 DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-815743-5.00002-0, In book: Advanced Biosensors for Health Care Applications, Chapter: 2, Publisher: Elsevier]
  12. Madhu Malinee*, Alok Kumar*, Abhijeet Dhiman, Tarun Kumar Sharma. Aptamer mediated nanobiosensing for health monitoring. Advanced Biosensors for Health Care: Materials and Applications Book [*Shared first author] [June 2019 DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-815743-5.00008-1, In book: Advanced Biosensors for Health Care Applications, Chapter: 8, Publisher: Elsevier]
  13. Partha S. Chowdhury, Kenji Chamoto, Alok Kumar, Tasuku Honjo. PPAR-induced fatty acid oxidation in T cells ameliorates the antitumor activity of PD-1 blockade by increasing the number of tumor-reactive CD8+ T cells. [Cancer Immunology Research, August 2018, DOI: 10.1158/2326-6066.CIR-18-0095].
  14. Tamoghna Ghosh, Santosh K Srivastava, Amit Gaurav, Alok Kumar, Piyush Kumar, Ajit Singh Yadav, Ranjana Pathania, Naveen K Navani. A combination of linalool, vitamin C, and copper synergistically triggers ROS, DNA damage and inhibits Salmonella typhi and multiple antibiotic resistant Vibrio fluvialis. [November 2018, Applied and Environmental Microbiology 85(4) DOI: 10.1128/AEM.02487-18].
  15. Kenji Chamoto, Partha Sarathi Chowdhury, Alok Kumar, Kazuhiro Sonomura, Fumihiko Matsuda, Sidonia Fagarasan and Tasuku Honjo “Mitochondria activation chemicals synergize with PD-1 blockade for T cell-dependent anti-tumor activity. [PNAS. 2017 Jan 31;114(5): E761-E770. doi: 10.1073/pnas. 1620433114. Epub 2017 Jan 17].
Research Interests

My areas of research are Immunology, Cancer Immunotherapy, Aging, Metabolism. My academic training and research experience during my master’s study (M.Sc. Biotechnology) at ‘Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee, India’ have provided me with an excellent background in multiple biological disciplines including molecular biology, microbiology, biochemistry, and genetics. The vast experience gained during the M.Sc. study led me to publish a co-author paper for searching a novel combination therapy (phytochemical + Vit. C + Cu) against muti-drug resistant bacteria (e.g., Vibrio fluvialis, Salmonella enterica subsp. Enterica Serovar Typhi) that inhibit the bacterial load by an order of 3-4 log cfu/ml (Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 2019, 85 (4), e02487-18). Based on the learning from bacterial defense, further, I developed interest in how our immune system act against foreign pathogens and the cancer in our body. I applied to renowned immunologist ‘Prof. Tasuku Honjo (Nobel Prize, Medicine, 2018), Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan’ for the doctoral research under his esteemed supervision. Prof. Honjo along with Prof. James P Alison laid the foundation of cancer immunotherapy. These two great scientists discovered immunoinhibitory receptors PD-1 and CTLA-4, respectively. I felt very lucky to be supervised by Prof. Honjo for my doctoral research. Though PD-1 blockade therapy made a paradigm shift in cancer treatment, a significant fraction of patients shows unresponsiveness. During my doctoral research I worked on the different mechanisms of unresponsiveness the tumors employ and published the research output in eLife journal where we have classified unresponsive tumors into two groups a) tumors with systemic immunosuppressive property (SIP); SIP-positive tumors inhibit the immune responses systemically by releasing small molecule (e.g., LLC tumor, CD26 tumor) and b) the SIP-negative tumors which do not inhibit immune responses like B16 melanoma (eLife Sciences, 2020; DOI: 10.7554/eLife.52330).

Further, for the postdoctoral research, I moved to Delgoffe’s lab at University of Pittsburgh, U.S. Here, I am working on CD8 T cells exhaustion. T cell exhaustion, a state of unresponsiveness, limits the efficacy of ICB therapy. Rejuvenating exhausted T cells would be able to clear tumor burden. Recently, Delgoffe lab published a paper in Nature Immunology where our lab revealed that chronic stimulation and mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) lead to the exhaustion state in T cells. In this project, I am investigating the primary effect caused by the ROS and will further down the target responsible for causing exhaustion. During my undergraduate and graduate careers, I received several academic awards and fellowships/grants. My long-term research goals involve becoming an independent researcher and solving the issues related with cancer immunotherapy.