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Faculty Profile

kumar-ashok-2023.jpgAshok Kumar

Professor of Pharmacology
Else and Philip Hargrove Endowed Professor of Drug Discovery

Department of Pharmacological and Pharmaceutical Sciences

University of Houston College of Pharmacy
Health 2, Room 5012
4349 Martin Luther King Boulevard
Houston, TX 77204-5037

Contact: - 713-743-3376


Research in our laboratory is focused towards understanding molecular and signaling mechanisms that regulate skeletal muscle mass and function in various conditions such as cancer cachexia, denervation, and sepsis. We are also studying mechanisms of skeletal muscle growth and metabolic adaptation in response to exercise and other anabolic stimuli. In addition, we investigate novel signaling mechanisms that regulate self-renewal and differentiation of satellite stem cells and regeneration of skeletal muscle in adults. Finally, we are also investigating pathophysiological mechanisms in muscular dystrophy to identify new drug targets. Our research work employ several genetics, molecular, cell biological, and physiological approaches.

NCBI Bibliography
ORCID Profile

  • Ph.D. in Tumor Biology, University of Delhi, Delhi, India
  • M.S. in Computer Science, University of Houston Clear Lake, Houston, Texas
  • M.Tech. in Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, Delhi, India
  • M.Sc. in Biotechnology, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India
  • B.Sc. in Chemistry (Hons.), Rajdhani College, University of Delhi, Delhi, India
  • Post-doctorate in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas

Google Scholar Profile
  • Roy A, Koike TE, Joshi AS, Tomaz da Silva M, Mathukumalli K, Wu M, and Kumar A (2023). Targeted regulation of TAK1 counteracts dystrophinopathy in a DMD mouse model. JCI Insight. 8 (10), e164768. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.164768
  • Roy A, Narkar VA, and Kumar A (2023). Emerging role of TAK1 in the regulation of skeletal muscle mass. Bioessays. 2023 Apr;45 (4):e2300003. doi:10.1002/bies.202300003.
  • Tomaz da Silva M, Joshi AS, Koike TE, Roy A, Mathukumalli K, Sopariwala DH, Narkar VA, and Kumar A (2022). Targeted ablation of Fn14 receptor improves exercise capacity and inhibits neurogenic muscle atrophy. FASEB Journal. 36 (12):e22666. doi:10.1096/fj.202201583R
  • Kumar A and Narkar VA (2022). Nuclear receptors as potential therapeutic targets in peripheral arterial disease and related myopathy. FEBS Journal. doi: 10.1111/febs.16593.
  • Roy A and Kumar A (2022). Supraphysiological activation of TAK1 promotes skeletal muscle growth and mitigates neurogenic atrophy. Nature Communications. 13(1):2201. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-29752-0.
  • Roy A, Tomaz da Silva M, Bhat R, Bohnert KR, Iwawaki T, and Kumar A (2021) The IRE1/XBP1 signaling axis promotes skeletal muscle regeneration through a cell non-autonomous mechanism. Elife 10:e73215. doi: 10.7554/eLife.73215.
  • Parveen A, Bohnert KR, Tomaz da Silva M, Wen Y, Bhat R, Roy A, and Kumar A (2021). MyD88-mediated signaling intercedes in neurogenic muscle atrophy through multiple mechanisms. FASEB Journal 35:e21821. doi: 10.1096/fj.202100777RR.
  • Roy A, Sharma AK, Nellore K, Narkar VA, and Kumar A (2020). TAK1 preserves skeletal muscle mass and mitochondrial function through redox homeostasis. FASEB BioAdvances 2:538-553. doi: 10.1096/fba.2020-00043.
  • Bohnert KR, Goli P, Roy A, Sharma AK, Xiong G, Gallot YS, Kumar A (2019). The Toll-Like Receptor/MyD88/XBP1 Signaling Axis Mediates Skeletal Muscle Wasting during Cancer Cachexia. Molecular and Cellular Biology 39 (15). pii: e00184-19
  • Gallot YS, Bohnert KR, Straughn AR, Xiong G, Hindi SM, Kumar A (2019). PERK regulates skeletal muscle mass and contractile function in adult mice. FASEB Journal 33:1946-1962.
  • Hindi SM, Sato S, Xiong G, Bohnert KR, Gibb AA, Gallot YS, McMillan JD, Hill BG, Uchida S, and Kumar A (2018) TAK1 regulates skeletal muscle mass and mitochondrial function. Journal of Clinical Investigation Insight (JCI Insight), 3 (3):e98441.
  • Hindi SM, Shin J, Gallot YS, Straughn AR, Simionescu-Bankston A, Hindi L, Xiong G, Friedland RP, and Kumar A (2017). MyD88 promotes myoblast fusion in a cell-autonomous manner. Nature Communications 8: 1624. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-01866-w.
  • Xiong G, Hindi SM, Mann AK, Gallot YS, Bohnert KR, Cavener DR, Whittemore SR, and Kumar A (2017). The PERK arm of the unfolded protein response regulates satellite cell-mediated skeletal muscle regeneration. Elife pii: e22871. doi: 10.7554/eLife.22871
  • Hindi SM and Kumar A (2016). TRAF6 regulates satellite stem cell self-renewal and function during regenerative myogenesis. Journal of Clinical Investigation (JCI) 126: 151-168.
  • Ogura Y, Hindi SM, Sato S, Xiong G, Akira S, and Kumar A (2015) TAK1 modulates satellite stem cell homeostasis and skeletal muscle repair. Nature Communications 6:10123 doi: 10.1038/ncomms10123
  • Hindi SM, Tajrishi M, and Kumar A (2013). Signaling mechanisms in mammalian myoblast fusion. Science Signaling 6: re2 (1-9pp).
  • Paul PK, Bhatnagar S, Mishra V, Srivastava S, Darnay BG, Choi Y, and Kumar A (2012). The E3 ubiquitin ligase TRAF6 intercedes in starvation-induced skeletal muscle atrophy through multiple mechanisms. Molecular and Cellular Biology 32:1248-59.
  • Paul PK, Gupta SK, Bhatnagar S, Panguluri SK, Darnay BG, Choi Y, and Kumar A (2010). Targeted ablation of TRAF6 inhibits skeletal muscle wasting in mice. Journal of Cell Biology 191:1395-1411.
  • Mittal A, Bhatnagar S, Kumar, A., Lach-Trifilieff E, Wauters S, Li H, Makonchuk DY, Glass DJ, and Kumar A (2010). The TWEAK-Fn14 system is a critical regulator of denervation-induced skeletal muscle atrophy in mice. Journal of Cell Biology 188:833-849.

Awards & Honors

  • 2012-2015, University Scholar, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
  • 2015-2019, Distinguished University Scholar, University of Louisville, KY


  • US Patent 9,751,950 (2017). Methods of reducing skeletal muscle loss using an antibody against Fn14. Inventor: Ashok Kumar, Ph.D.
  • US Patent App. 14/725,873 (2015) Tweak/fn14 system regulates skeletal muscle atrophy and regeneration. Inventor: Ashok Kumar, Ph.D.

Editorial Appointments

  • Academic Editor- PLoS One
  • Editorial Board Member- Cancers (Basel)
  • Review Editor- Frontiers in Physiology

Ad-Hoc Journal Reviewer

  • Science Signaling; Nature Communications; Science Translational Medicine; Science Advances, FASEB Journal; Journal of Cell Biology; Journal of Immunology; Journal of Biological Chemistry; Molecular Therapy; Molecular and Cellular Biology; Cancer Research; Cell Death & Disease; Cell Stress; Human Molecular Genetics; Disease Models and Mechanisms; Scientific Reports; American Journal of Physiology; Journal of Cellular Physiology; PLOS One; Stem Cells; American Journal of Pathology; Autophagy; Skeletal Muscle; Journal of Pathology, Diabetes, Journal of Hepatology; Journal of Molecular Cell Biology; and Stem Cell Research.