Vivek Kumar


Univeristy of California, San Diego


Dr. Kumar obtained his Bachelor’s degree from Univeristy of Chicago, where he worked on the genetics of the photosyntehtic bacteriumRhodobacter capsulatus in the laboratry of Dr. Robert Haelkorn. He went on to obtain his PhD at the Univeristy of California, San Diego in the laboratory of Dr. Michael G. Rosenfeld.  He carried out structural, biochemical and enzymatic characterization of the transcriptional corepressor, C-terminal Binding Protein (CtBP).  He carried out post-doctoral work in Dr. Joseph S. Takahashi’s lab working on application of forward genetic approaches to study rewarding behaviors, with a particular emphasis on cocaine response and addiction.

Research Interests

The Kumar Laboratory studies neural circuits in the brain whose misregulation leads to behavioral abnormalities including addiction, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, and depression. Using mouse molecular genetics as foundation, and a combination of biochemistry, physiology, and imaging techniques we dissect these complex behaviors in mammals

We use two functional genomics approaches in mice—forward genetic ethylnitrosourea (ENU) mutagenesis screens and quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis—to identify genes and pathways that regulate these behaviors. Powerful and unbiased, forward genetic approaches make no a priori assumptions and only require a clear well-defined assay for gene discovery. We have used high-throughput screening pipeline to discover mutants for cocaine response and open field behavior. Using physical mapping followed by next generation sequencing we have identified novel genes and alleles that regulate cocaine response and anxiety related behaviors.

Selected Publications


  • Kumar V, Kim K, Joseph C, Kourrich S, Yoo SH, Huang HC, Vitaterna MH, Pardo- Manuel de Villena F, Churchill G, Bonci A, Takahashi JS. C57BL/6N mutation in Cytoplasmic FMRP interacting protein 2 (Cyfip2) regulates cocaine response. Science 342: 1508-1512. 2013.
  • Kumar V, Kim K, Joseph C, Thomas LC, Hong HK, and Takahashi JS. A Second Gen- eration High Throughput Forward Genetic Screen in Mice to Isolate Subtle Behavioral Mutants. PNAS 108: Sup 3 15557-15564. 2011.

Additional Publications

  • Sheppard K, Gardin J, Sabnis GS, Peer A, Darrell M, Deats S, Geuther B, Lutz CM, Kumar V. Stride-level analysis of mouse open field behavior using deep-learning-based pose estimation. Cell Rep. 2022 Jan 11;38(2):110231. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2021.110231.
  • Geuther BQ, Peer A, He H, Sabnis G, Philip VM, Kumar V. Action detection using a neural network elucidates the genetics of mouse grooming behavior. Elife. 2021 Mar 17;10:e63207. doi: 10.7554/eLife.63207
  • Yang S, Siepka SM, Cox KH, Kumar V, de Groot M, Chelliah Y, Chen J, Tu B, Takahashi JS. Tissue-specific FAH deficiency alters sleep-wake patterns and results in chronic tyrosinemia in mice. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Oct 29;116(44):22229-22236. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1904485116
  • Akinola LS, Mckiver B, Toma W, Zhu AZX, Tyndale RF, Kumar V, Damaj MI. C57BL/6 Substrain Differences in Pharmacological Effects after Acute and Repeated Nicotine Administration. Brain Sci. 2019 Sep 21;9(10):244. doi: 10.3390/brainsci9100244.
  • Kirkpatrick SL, Goldberg LR, Yazdani N, Babbs RK, Wu J, Reed ER, Jenkins DF, Bolgioni AF, Landaverde KI, Luttik KP, Mitchell KS, Kumar V, Johnson WE, Mulligan MK, Cottone P, Bryant CD. Cytoplasmic FMR1-Interacting Protein 2 Is a Major Genetic Factor Underlying Binge Eating. Biol Psychiatry. 2017 May 1;81(9):757-769. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2016.10.021.
  • Funato H, Miyoshi C, Fujiyama T, Kanda T, Sato M, Wang Z, Ma J, Nakane S, Tomita J, Ikkyu A, Kakizaki M, Hotta-Hirashima N, Kanno S, Komiya H, Asano F, Honda T, Kim SJ, Harano K, Muramoto H, Yonezawa T, Mizuno S, Miyazaki S, Connor L, Kumar V, Miura I, Suzuki T, Watanabe A, Abe M, Sugiyama F, Takahashi S, Sakimura K, Hayashi Y, Liu Q, Kume K, Wakana S, Takahashi JS, Yanagisawa M. Forward-genetics analysis of sleep in randomly mutagenized mice. Nature. 2016 Nov 17;539(7629):378-383. doi: 10.1038/nature20142.
  • Takahashi JS, Kumar V, Nakashe P, Koike N, Huang HC, Green CB, Kim TK. ChIP-seq and RNA-seq methods to study circadian control of transcription in mammals. Methods Enzymol. 2015;551:285-321. doi: 10.1016/bs.mie.2014.10.059.
  • Plikus MV, Van Spyk EN, Pham K, Geyfman M, Kumar V, Takahashi JS, Andersen B. The circadian clock in skin: implications for adult stem cells, tissue regeneration, cancer, aging, and immunity. J Biol Rhythms. 2015 Jun;30(3):163-82. doi: 10.1177/0748730414563537.
  • Stringari C, Wang H, Geyfman M, Crosignani V, Kumar V, Takahashi JS, Andersen, B, Gratton E. In Vivo single-cell detection of metabolic oscillations in stem cells. Cell Reports 10: 1-7 2015.
  • Kumar V, Andersen B, Takahashi JS. Epidermal stem cells ride the circadian wave. Genome Biology 14: 140-143. 2013.
  • Shimomura K, Kumar V, Koike N, Kim TK, Chong J, Buhr ED, Whiteley AR, Low SS, Omura C, Fenner D, Owens JR, Richards M, Yoo SH, Hong HK, Vitaterna MH, Bass J, Pletcher MT, Wiltshire T, Hogenesch JB, Lowrey PL, Takahashi JS. Usf1, a sup- pressor of the circadian clock mutant, reveals the nature of the DNA-binding of the CLOCK:BMAL1 complex in mice. E-Life 2:e00426. 2013.
  • Yoo SH, Mohawk JA, Siepka SM, Shan Y, Huh SK, Hong HK, Kornblum I, Kumar V, Koike N, Xu M, Nussbaum J, Liu X, Chen Z, Chen ZJ, Green CB, and Takahashi JS. Competing E3 Ubiquitin Ligases Govern Circadian Periodicity by Degradation of CRY in Nucleus and Cytoplasm. Cell 152(5): 1091-1105. 2013.
  • Koike N, Yoo SH, Huang HC, Kumar V, Lee C, Kim TK, Takahashi JS. Transcription- al Architecture and Chromatin Landscape of the Core Circadian Clock in Mammals. Science 338(6105): 349-354. 2012.
  • Geyfman M, Kumar V, Liu Q, Ruiz R, Gordon W, Espitia F, Cam E, Millar SE, Smyth P, Ihler A, Takahashi JS, Andersen B. Brain and muscle Arnt-like protein-1 (BMAL1) con- trols circadian cell proliferation and susceptibility to UVB-induced DNA damage in the epidermis. PNAS 109(29):11758-63, 2012.
  • Kumar V and Takahashi JS. PARP around the Clock. Cell 142(6): 841-843. 2010.
  • Shimomura K, Lowrey PL, Vitaterna MH, Buhr ED, Kumar V, Hanna P, Omura C, Izu- mo M, Low SS, Barrett, RK, LaRue SI, Green CB, Takahashi JS. Genetic suppression of the circadian Clock mutation by the melatonin biosynthesis pathway. PNAS 107(18): 8399-8403. 2010.

Full List of Publications