Ramya Kumar

Assistant Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Ramya KumarPreviously, Ramya was a postdoctoral associate at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities where she developed materiomics workflows to accelerate the discovery of polymeric vectors for gene delivery. 

Polymers are poised to bridge technological and regulatory barriers hindering the clinical translation of cellular, protein and gene therapeutics. Thanks to rapid advances in controlled radical polymerization, we can precisely tailor chemical and architectural design parameters to access myriad properties and multifunctional polymers. Yet, synthetic advances have not been accompanied by fundamental knowledge connecting polymer design decisions to interfacial properties, and the ultimate biological performance achieved by polymeric biomaterials such as coatings and delivery vehicles. In order to create discovery pipelines for clinically useful and affordable biomaterials, the Kumar lab will develop (1) combinatorial design strategies to accelerate polymeric biomaterial discovery (2) process intensification techniques to improve the physical properties of nanoassemblies formed between therapeutic payloads and polymers, and (3) synthetic cell culture substrates to promote efficient polymer-mediated delivery of gene editing constructs.


  • B.E. (Hons.) BITS Pilani (Pilani Campus), India, Chemical Engineering.
  • PhD, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Chemical Engineering.
  • Postdoctoral training, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Chemistry

Selected Publications

  • Bockman, M.R., Dalal, R.J., Kumar, R., & Reineke, T.M. (2020) Facile synthesis of GalNAc monomers and block polycations for hepatocyte gene delivery. Polymer Chemistry, 10.1039/D1PY00250C.
  • Dalal, R.J., Kumar, R, Ohnsorg, M., Brown, M.E., & Reineke, T.M. (2021) Cationic Bottlebrush Polymers Outperform Linear Polycation Analogues for pDNA Delivery and Gene Expression. ACS Macro Letters, 10, XXX, 886–893.
  • Kumar, R*., Chalarca, C.F.S.*, Bockman, M.R.*, Van Bruggen, C., Grimme. C.J., Dalal, R.J., Hanson, M.G., Hexum, J.K., & Reineke, T.M. (2021) Polymeric Delivery of Therapeutic Nucleic Acids. Chemical Reviews, 10.1021/acs.chemrev.0c00997. *equal contribution
  • Kumar, R., Le, N., Tan, Z., Brown, M.E., Jian, S., & Reineke, T.M. (2020) Efficient polymer-mediated delivery of ribonucleoprotein payloads through combinatorial design & parallelized experimentation. ACS Nano, 10.1021/acsnano.0c08549.
  • Tan, Z., Jiang, Y., Ganewatta, M.S., Kumar, R., Keith, A., Twaroski, K., Pengo, T., Tolar, J., Lodge, T.P., Reineke, T.M. Block Polymer Micelles Enable CRISPR/Cas9 Ribonucleoprotein Delivery: Physicochemical Properties Affect Packaging Mechanisms and Gene Editing Efficiency. Macromolecules, 52, 21, 8197-8206 (2019).
  • Kumar, R., Welle, A., Becker, F., Kopyeva, I. & Lahann, J. Substrate-Independent Micropatterning of Polymer Brushes Based on Photolytic Deactivation of Chemical Vapor Deposition Based Surface-Initiated Atom-Transfer Radical Polymerization Initiator Films. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 10, 31965–31976 (2018).
  • Qian, X., Villa-Diaz, L. G., Kumar, R., Lahann, J. & Krebsbach, P. H. Enhancement of the propagation of human embryonic stem cells by modifications in the gel architecture of PMEDSAH polymer coatings. Biomaterials, 35, 9581–9590 (2014).

Google Scholar Citations Page

Honors and Awards

  • PMSE Future Faculty Scholar, 2019
  • Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship, 2017-18, University of Michigan
  • Procter & Gamble Team Innovation Award, 2016, University of Michigan.
  • Richard & Eleanor Towner Prize for outstanding Graduate Student Instructor (GSI), 2016, University of Michigan.
  • Monali Dey Memorial Award, BITS Pilani, December 2008, alumni memorial award for the most outstanding chemical engineering undergraduate in a graduating class


329 Alderson Hall
1613 Illinois Street
Golden, CO 80401
(303) 384-2756

Research Group