Contact Dr Vinod Kumar

Areas of expertise

  • Biomass and Waste
  • Energy and the Environment
  • Fuels
  • Renewable Energy
  • Waste Management and Resource Efficiency

Background

Before joining Cranfield University, Dr Vinod Kumar was a Marie Curie International Incoming Fellow working at the EPSRC/BBSRC Synthetic Biology Research Centre (SBRC) at University of Nottingham, UK. Prior to this, he worked as Post-Doctoral Fellow in France, South Korea and the United Kingdom. His primary skills spans across multidisciplinary research domains such as Biochemical Engineering, Microbial Fermentations, Industrial Biotechnology, Metabolic Engineering and Synthetic Biology. He has worked on different biological systems; fungal, yeast and bacterial. He is a seasoned researcher whose expertise lies in the development of low cost, energy efficient and sustainable bioprocesses for production of biofertilizers, biopesticides, biofuels and biochemicals.

Dr Kumar qualified Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP) in October 2020 and is a Fellow of Higher Education Academy (FHEA). He earned his M.Sc. (Chemistry) and PhD (Biochemical Engineering & Biotechnology) degree from Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT Delhi), which is among the top five engineering institutes in India. He graduated in B.Sc (Hons) Chemistry from Hindu College, University of Delhi, India and was ranked first. Dr Kumar has qualified national as well as international level competition with top ranks. He qualified Marie Curie Fellowship with an overall score of 97.1/100. He qualified Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) examination in Chemistry (All India rank 4th with 99.77 percentile in GATE 2002) as well as Life Sciences (All India rank 1st with 99.99 percentile in GATE 2005). He also qualified joint CSIR-UGC (India) examination three times and two times secured position among top 20% awardees.

 


Research opportunities

We have openings for self-funded PhD and M.Sc. by Research students in areas of Microbial Biotechnology and Circular Biorefining including Fermentation Technology, Metabolic Engineering, Waste Valorisation, Downstream Processing and Sustainability Assessment.

 

Current activities

Oil is central to global manufacturing and theoretically, it is possible to replace all of the fossil carbon used in global manufacturing with renewable bio-derived products made from waste non-edible carbonaceous biomass. This transition to low carbon biomanufacturing provides a massive opportunity nationally as well as globally and will drive progress towards a carbon-neutral society. Significant advancements have been made in the fields of low carbon/renewable heat and power, while the fuels, chemicals and polymer sector remain largely dependent on petroleum even today, indicating a significant opportunity exists to develop this area through targeted research and innovation. The integration of non-edible carbon-based renewable feedstocks with a circular biorefining approach is gradually raising attention as this green approach will provide new technologies for bio-waste utilisation and developing future biorefinery systems. 

Microbes are amazing microscopic living entities that display diverse metabolic pattern so as to survive in different environments. As a result, they have immense potential to synthesise and accumulate wide range of molecules, therefore, can serve as cell factories for the efficient production of the chemicals essential for a modern industrial society. His current research activities are at nexus of Metabolic/Pathway Engineering, Bioprocessing and Waste Valorisation. The work leads to development of new intensified technologies for production of high value products from agro-industrial waste streams rich in renewable carbon using microbes as cell factories. The designing of cleaner synthetic routes and processes makes the production of a range of chemicals possible in a way that maximises efficiency and minimises waste through a circular economy approach. Presently, his research team is engaged in production of various bio-based products like xylitol, 2,3-butanediol, Itaconic, lactic and succinic acid, at high titres from waste streams like sugarcane bagasse, brewer's spent grains, crude glycerol, unconsumed food, bread & bakery waste etc using preferably GRAS (generally regarded as safe) microbes. His research group also design robust strains using synthetic biology, metabolic and evolutionary engineering approaches. The microbial systems are engineered not only for overproducing the desired product but also exhibiting greater tolerance against high substrate levels, end-product toxicity and inhibitors present in the waste streams. Recently, he has also stepped into new areas of downstream processing and sustainability assessment.

On Teaching side, Dr Kumar is leading two modules, Biofuels and Biorefining and Bioprocess Engineering for M.Sc. Advanced Chemical Engineering course. He is TDN (Thematic Doctoral Network) Lead for Energy & Power. He also holds a Visiting Faculty position in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, India. In addition, Dr Kumar serve as Associate Editor for various prestigious Journals: 3Biotech; Microbial Cell Factories; Frontier in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, Food and Bioproducts Bioprocessing. 


Clients

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)

Innovate UK

Publications

Articles In Journals

Conference Papers

Books

  • Kumar V, Ashok S & Park S (2014) Microbial Production of 3-Hydroxypropionic Acid from Renewable Sources: A Green Approach as an Alternative to Conventional Chemistry. In: Bioprocessing of Renewable Resources to Commodity Bioproducts. Bisaria VS, Kondo A (ed.), Hoboken, NJ, USA: John Wiley & Sons,, p. 381-407. Dataset/s: 10.1002/9781118845394.ch14
  • Kumar V, Sahai V & Bisaria VS (2013) Effect of Piriformospora indica on enhanced biosynthesis of anticancer drug, podophyllotoxin, in plant cell cultures of Linum album. In: Piriformospora indica: Sebacinales and Their Biotechnological Applications. Varma A, Kost G, Oelmüller R (ed.), Berlin: Springer, p. 119-137.