Kumar is an Associate Professor and GAZNAT Chair at the Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering (ISIC) at EPFL where he leads the Laboratory of Advanced Separations (LAS) since 2016. He received his undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from IIT Bombay (India) in 2005. Following this, he joined the global R&D division of Procter & Gamble in Japan where he worked on product design (2005-2008). He subsequently joined the University of Minnesota for a Ph.D. degree in Chemical Engineering (2008-2013). His thesis advised by Prof. Michael Tsapatsis and Prof. Lorraine Francis led to the isolation of highly crystalline two-dimensional zeolite nanosheets (Science 2011). His stint with the Strano group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a postdoctoral researcher (2014-2016) led to the discovery of an extreme phase transition of confined water inside carbon nanotubes (Nature Nanotechnology 2017).
At EPFL, his research group is engaged in material chemistry and engineering at the Å-scale for high-performance inorganic and hybrid membranes for energy- and cost-efficient molecular separation (see research page for details). For this, his group is developing synthetic routes for the two-dimensional (2D) membranes with precise control of pore size and functionality, with current focus on porous graphene, 2D metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) and 2D zeolites. He is the recipient of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Separation Division FRI/John G. Kunesh Award (2021), North American Membrane Society (NAMS) Young Membrane Scientist Award (2018), European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant, Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) Assistant Professor Energy Grant, among others. He serves as the Editorial Board member of Journal of Membrane Science, and Early Career Editorial Board members of Separations and Purification Technology.
- Ph.D. (Chemical Engineering), University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA (2008-2013)
- B. Tech. (Chemical Engineering), IIT Bombay, Mumbai, India (2001-2005)
- Associate Professor, Jan 2023 onwards
- Assistant Professor, EPFL, July 2016- Dec 2022
- Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA (2014-2016)
- Engineer, Global Hair Care R&D, Procter & Gamble, Kobe, Japan (2005-2008)
Awards and Honors
- AIChE FRI/John G. Kunesh Award, 2021.
- European Research Council Starting Grant (2019-2024).
- Young Membrane Scientist Award, North American Membrane Society (NAMS), 2018
- Swiss NSF Assistant Professor Energy Grant (2017 – 2021)
- AIChE Separations Division Graduate Student Research Award, 2013
- Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship (DDF), University of Minnesota, 2012-2013
- IIT Bombay Institute Silver Medal, 2005
- Manudhane Best Undergraduate Student Award, IIT Bombay, 2005
Recent Professional Services
- Editorial Board Member of Journal of Membrane Science.
- Early Career Editorial Board Member of Separations & Purification Technology (2023-24).
- Member of the GAZNAT Steering Committee for Carbon Capture (2020 onwards).
- Guest Editor, “Separation and Purification Technology” for the special issue on “Two Dimensional Membranes”
- Member of the Swiss Steering Committee for Swiss-Norwegian Beamlines (SNBL, 2021 onwards).