Faculty & Research Interests


Avinash Kumar, Ph.D.
Research Scientist, Cancer Research laboratories/Dr. Levenson Lab Director, Small Animal Imaging Core
(718) 780-6061


Ph.D., National Chemical Laboratory, University of Pune, Pune, INDIA
DBT-Postdoctoral Fellow, National Center for Cell Science, Pune, INDIA
Postdoc Research Fellow, Cancer Institute, University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC), Jackson, MS

Short Biography

Dr. Kumar received his Ph.D. in protein biochemistry and biophysics in 2012, after which he was awarded the postdoctoral fellowship from Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Govt. of India to carry out his research on cancer biology and epigenetics. After completion of this fellowship Dr. Kumar worked as a postdoc research fellow at the Cancer Institute, UMMC from 2013-16. Only recently, he joined Long Island University, College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences as a Research Scientist for Cancer Research Laboratories and Director of the Small Animal Imaging core. For the past three years Dr. Kumar’s research has focused on understanding the role and regulation of metastasis-associated protein 1 (MTA1), a chromatin modifier, in prostate cancer biology and on utilization of dietary stilbenes, such as resveratrol and pterostilbene among others as MTA1 inhibitors for prostate cancer chemoprevention and treatment. Dr. Kumar is an ad-hoc as well as an active reviewer for some journals. He is the author of 11 peer-reviewed publications, two book chapters and 17 abstracts. Dr. Kumar is an associate member of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

Research Synopsis

MTA1 has been shown to play a critical role in prostate cancer progression and metastasis by inhibiting apoptosis and promoting angiogenesis. There is also available evidence that MTA1 can serve as an independent prognostic marker for aggressive prostate cancer, particularly in African American men. We have shown that MTA1 is involved in post-translational deacetylation of PTEN leading to inactivation of its tumor suppressor functions and hyperactivation of pAkt survival pathway. Using prostate specific Pten-null and Pten-haploinsufficient model, we have shown that MTA1 is a key regulator of prostate cancer initiation and progression by inducing inflammation and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Currently, we aim to further our understanding of MTA1-mediated genetic and epigenetic mechanisms in prostate cancer progression and metastasis. In addition, we have also showed the MTA1 and miRNA targeting capabilities of dietary stilbenes (e.g. resveratrol and pterostilbene). Currently, we aim to understand the MTA1-targeted efficacy of these agents in combination with already approved FDA chemotherapeutic drugs in the treatment of prostate cancer.

Selected Publications

  • Chakraborty S, Kumar A, Butt NA, Zhang L, Williams R, Rimando AM, Biswas PK, Levenson AS. Molecular insight into the differential anti-androgenic activity of resveratrol and its natural analogs: In silico approach to understand biological actions. Molecular BioSystems 12, 1702, 2016 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27063447
  • Dhar S, Kumar A, Zhang L, Rimando AM, Lage JM, Lewin JR, Atfi A, Zhang X, Levenson AS. Dietary pterostilbene is a novel MTA1-targeted chemopreventive and therapeutic agent in prostate cancer. Oncotarget 7:18469-18484, 2016 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26943043
  • Kumar A, Dhar S, Rimando AM, Lage JM, Lewin JR, Zhang X, Levenson AS. Epigenetic potential of resveratrol and analogs in preclinical models of prostate cancer. Annals of New York Academy of Sciences 1348:1-9, 2015 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed26214308
  • Dhar S, Kumar A, Rimando AM, Zhang X, Levenson AS. Resveratrol and pterostilbene epigenetically restore PTEN expression by targeting oncomiRs of the miR-17 family in prostate cancer. Oncotarget 6:27214-27226, 2015 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26318586
  • Dhar S, Kumar A, Li K, Zhang X, Tzivion G, Levenson AS. Resveratrol regulates PTEN/Akt pathway through inhibition of MTA1/HDAC unit of the NuRD complex in prostate cancer. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (Molecular Cell Research) 1853:265-275, 2015 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25447541
  • Kumar A, Lin S-Y, Dhar S, Rimando AM, Levenson AS. Stilbenes inhibit androgen receptor expression in 22Rv1 castrate-resistant prostate cancer cells. Journal of Medicinally Active Plants 3: 1-8, 2014
  • Levenson AS, Kumar A, Zhang X. MTA family of proteins in prostate cancer: biology, significance, and therapeutic opportunities. Cancer Metastasis Reviews 33:929-942, 2014 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25332143
  • Paul D, Kumar A, Gajbhiye A, Santra MK and Srikanth R. Mass Spectrometry-Based Proteomics in Molecular Diagnostics: Discovery of Cancer Biomarkers Using Tissue Culture, BioMed Research International doi:10.1155/2013/783131, 2013 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23586059
  • Sreejith RK, Suresh CG, Bhosale SH, Bhavnani V, Kumar A, Gaikwad SM, Pal JK. Conformational transitions of the catalytic domain of heme-regulated eukaryotic initiation factor 2α kinase, a key translational regulatory molecule. Journal of Fluorescence 22 (1): 431-441, 2012 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21947569
  • Kumar A and Gaikwad SM, Jack bean α-mannosidase (Jbα-man): Tolerance to alkali, chelating and reducing agents and energetics of catalysis and inhibition. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules 49 (5): 1066-1071, 2011 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21924285
  • Kumar A and Gaikwad SM, Multistate unfolding of α-mannosidase from Canavalia ensiformis (Jack Bean): Evidence for the thermostable molten globule, Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 403 (3-4): 391-397, 2010 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21087596


LIU Pharmacy
Arash T. Dabestani