Dr. Arun Kumar

Research Assistant Professor

Nanomaterials and Nanomanufacturing Research Center,

University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33620,USA

E-mail: arunk@eng.usf.edu

Voice ( 813) 974 2353; Fax: ( 813) 9743610

Research Interest:

Nanobiotechnology, Drug delivery, Electrochemistry

Gene delivery, Biosensors, Hydrogen storage

 Resume of Career

Dr. Arun Kumar has received his Ph.D. in Chemistry with specialization in sensor and biosensor technology jointly from National Physical Laboratory, and University of Delhi, India in 2003. He has been associated with many laboratories of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) since 1990 like Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT), Hyderabad, Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology  (Formerly CBT) and National Physical Laboratory (NPL), New Delhi which is one of the prime research organizations of India. He was deputed to Poland as a visiting scientist in the Center for Molecular and Macromolecular Studies, Lodz, Poland in 2000 under Indo-Polish collaborative project. He joined as post doctoral fellow in 2003 at New Mexico State University, in the Sensochip Research Group of Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA. In 2004 he joined University of South Florida, Tampa, USA in Department of Nanomaterials and Nanomanufacturing Research Center as Research Scientist. His doctoral specialization was on the synthesis and characterization of conducting polymers as well as carbon materials using various chemical and physical approaches for sensor and biosensor development. He has filed eight patents on sensor / Hydrogen storage technology and authored one book chapter and about 40 other publications.

 Summary of Current Research Programs

1. Human Skin Smart biological Interface Bio-MEMS / sensor:

     Skin functions in homeostasis include protection, regulation of body temperature, sensory reception, and water balance, synthesis of vitamins and hormones, and absorption of materials. The skin's primary functions are to serve as a barrier to the entry of microbes and viruses, and to prevent water and extracellular fluid loss. Acidic secretions from skin glands also retard the growth of fungi. Melanocytes form a second barrier: protection from the damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation. When a microbe penetrates the skin (or when the skin is breached by a cut) the inflammatory response occurs. Sweat is a salty, watery solution produced by sweat glands, numerous microscopic channels opening onto the skin surface. As sebum and sweat mix up on the skin surface, they form a protective layer often referred to as the acid mantle. Acid mantle also inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria and fungi. If acid mantle is disrupted or loses its acidity, the skin becomes more prone to damage and infection. The loss of acid mantle is one of the side-effects of washing the skin with soaps or detergents of moderate or high strength. The purpose to develop nanoscale MEMS sensor for sweat analysis is to provide real-time reliable information about the chemical composition of sweat and skin’s surrounding environment. Such devices consist of a transduction element interfaced with a biological or chemical recognition layer. Ideally, such device is capable of responding continuously and reversibly and does not perturb the sample or skin.


2. Nanoscale DNA Biochip for Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Hybridization Analysis:  

DNA plays an important role in many cellular processes like replication, homologous recombination and transcription. Biochips, particularly those based on DNA are powerful devices that integrate the specificity and selectivity of biological molecules with electronic control and parallel processing of information. This combination will potentially increase the speed and reliability of biological analysis. Ultra-high micro-cavities on a silicon wafer chip using an electrochemical etching technique and a dry silicon-etching process can be used to fabricate the DNA biochip. Fundamental phenomena like molecular elasticity, binding to protein, supercoilling and electronic conductivity also depends on the numerous possible DNA confirmations and can be investigated nowadays on a single molecule level. A novel optical and mechanical  approach to detect DNA hybridization by properly coating over the surface of porous silicon microcavities with highly selective receptor molecules sDNA  have been fabricated. The DNA biochip has been characterized by  Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) with nanoscope dimension 3000 software, Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), UV visible spectroscopy, Optical microscope, and a temperature stabilization photoluminescence (PL) spectroscope.










    Fig 1. SEM of porous Silicon microcavities    Fig.2 DNA attached to microcavities        Fig 3 Image of sDNA 3D AFM Picture       Fig 4 Hybridized DNA AFM 3D Picture


 3 CNT-mediated intelligent drug delivery system:

   Carbon nanotubes have recently shown to be excellent drug carriers and                                       

   appear to have several advantages like their nano size in range of 10nm-40nm,                                            

   their ability to provide a rod-like scaffold, an increased capacity to carry drugs,

  the ability to deliver drugs to nucleus and non toxic nature. The present hypothesis

  is that carbon nanotubes will provide a unique scaffold enabling a on demand (as needed)

  drug deliver system. To test this hypothesis it is planned to first synthesize single walled and

  multiwalled nanotubes then functionalize these carbon nanotubes with different functional

  groups and then liked with DNA and drug to test their potential delivery further investigations

 are going on in our laboratory.


 4 Nanoparticle coated with drug molecule as drug carrier:

    Magenetic nanoparticle attached with drug molecules are of great                                           

    interest as these particles can be used as drug delivery carrier to target

    specific region. To prepare drug loaded nanoparticle the biological

   active compound will be incorporated into the preparation medium or

   by adsorption or by chemically bound onto the surface of nanoparticles with

   some function groups. 



5. Modified CNT as nanoscale biosensor:

  There is a need e Army for rapid, accurate and sensitive methods for the detection of synthetic organic compounds (eg., organophosphates, explosives residues) and biomolecules (e.g Glucose, cholesterol, urea,lactic acid etc to develop environmental and clinically important sensors. These methods should lend themselves to miniaturization (“on-chip”) and are expected to meet the multiple functional sensor needs for real time analysis. Such systems need to be robust, versatile and survive hostile environments. For example, a small patch on a soldier is envisioned to be capable of monitoring the chemical or biological environment, and automatically delivering a suitable antidote directly into the blood stream on detecting a hostile environment. Currently in our group attempt have been made to develop carbon nanotubes modified with functional group and covalently linked with biological species is   used as tiny nanoscale sensor for glucose detection


6. Nanocrystelline diamond film for biomedical application:

   Biological, or organic, molecules contain carbon, which is the sole atomic ingredient of diamond. "Since carbon-carbon bonds are stronger than silicon-carbon or silicon-silicon bonds we reasoned that diamond surfaces would be more stable. A method to chemically modify the diamond surface with organic chemical groups that served as good attachment points for biomolecules.  

Glucose biosensor based on nanocrystalline diamond  









 7. Carbon nanotubes based polymer nanocomposite for Hydrogen storage:

    Currently, several classes of materials are being pursued as possible candidates for hydrogen storage including conventional and complex metal hydrides (both bulk and nanoscale), and carbon nano-structures. Due to their large surface area with relatively small mass, single wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNT’s) have been considered as potential systems for high capacity hydrogen storage. However, it is evident from the recent reports that, more systematic evaluation of the synthesis and hydrogen storage property in these materials are necessary to achieve consistent reproducibility. Nanomaterials have diverse tunable physical properties as a function of their size and shape due to strong quantum confinement effect and large surface/volume ratio.  In the present work, we have developed a carbon based polymeric nanocomposite for hydrogen storage. Further research is under progress for further investigations.


8. Conducting polymer and carbon nanotubes based nanocomposite for toxic gas sensor


    Ammonia gas presents many hazards to both humans and the environment.  Due to its highly toxic characteristics, even low level concentrations (ppm) of ammonia gas pose a serious threat. Current ammonia sensing devices allow for the detection of lower level (ppm) ammonia gas presence. However, these sensors suffer from low selectivity, lower sensitivity and require high temperatures.  A new approach is needed to improve the selectivity and sensitivity for ammonia gas detection. In the present approach a method has been explored to enhance sensor performance. Conductive polymers combined with selected metal oxides and carbon nanotubes have been tested for ammonia gas sensing applications.


9 Modified carbon electrode for the detection of Lipase and Amylase:

Normally, the pancreatic digestive enzymes are created and carried into the duodenum in an inactive form. During pancreatitis attacks, these enzymes are prevented or inhibited from reaching the duodenum, become activated while still in the pancreas, and begin to autodigest and destroy the pancreas.  In order to detect lipase sensitively in seconds a square wave technique has been explored.  Cyclic volatmmetric technique was used to coat the thin layer (~2.25 μm) of polyaniline onto the carbon electrode surface. This modified electrode proved to be highly sensitive and specific to detect lipase between 0 and 225 IU/L, well with the required normal physiological range.