Dr. Prashant Kumta Honored by Forbes India Magazine
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Prashant Kumta, PhD, the Edward R. Weidlein Chair at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering and professor in the Departments of BioEngineering, Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, was recently featured in Forbes India magazine which focuses on science and technology. Dr. Kumta was identified as one of “18 Indian Minds Who Are Doing Cutting Edge Work.” The magazine honored him as a scientist working in the fields of energy and medicine.
Dr. Kumta has more than 150 refereed journal publications and he holds four patents. His work spans two different fields—energy and medicine. In energy storage, he works with nanoparticles and in medicine, with biodegradable nanomaterials that have applications in gene therapy and regenerative medicines.
In the mid-1990s, Dr. Kumta asked a game changing question: Why not create degradable ceramic material using calcium and phosphate? That led to at least two breakthroughs—one in gene therapy and the other in regenerative medicine. In gene therapy, he developed a safe and efficient way to deliver genes to cells. By combining nanomaterials with other materials, he has found a way to stabilize bone wounds and enhance regeneration. This patented work is slated to proceed toward FDA approval.
In energy, Dr. Kumta’s research could lead to a new generation of lithium-ion batteries that can store more power and last longer. Currently, India is set to become one of the biggest consumers of electronic goods like mobile phones, cameras, and laptops even before the power infrastructure catches up. His work in energy storage will help and benefit India.
Dr. Kumta received a Bachelor of Technology with honors in metallurgical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India. He is in discussion with Prof. Rudra Pratap at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, to initiate some collaborative work in biotechnology.
Dr. Kumta is passionate about doing excellent scientific work. “I remain hopeful that the scientific work will lead to novel technologies for improving the quality of life all over the world,” he says.
“I have known Prof. Kumta for nearly 20 years… No challenge was too great for Prashant: Intellectual or personal,” says Aloysius F. Hepp, Editor-in-Chief, Materials Science in Semiconductor Processing.
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