Dr. Purnima Kumar is the William and Mary K. Najjar Endowed professor of Dentistry and Chair of the Department of Periodontology and Oral Medicine at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. She received her dental degree from Annamalai University and MS in Periodontology from Dr. MGR Medical University in India. She later received her Certificate in Periodontology and Doctor of Philosophy in Molecular Microbiology from The Ohio State University. Dr. Kumar previously served as professor of periodontology and chair of the oral biology PhD program at The Ohio State University College of Dentistry and James Cancer Center.
Dr. Kumar is the Principal Investigator of Oral Microbial Ecology Laboratory at the University of Michigan that has been continuously funded through the NIH for over 15 years. She also collaborates extensively with the oral healthcare industry to develop therapeutics for microbial modulation.
She is a Fellow of the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) program, the American Association of Dental, Oral and Craniofacial Research and the American and International College of Dentists. She has authored over 100 papers and book chapters and serves as the Co-Editor of Clinical Advances in Periodontics, and Associate Editor of the Journal of Periodontology, Periodontology 2000, Nature Scientific Reports and Microbiome. She is an active clinician, teacher, researcher and administrator, has mentored several pre-dental, dental, master’s, doctoral and post-doctoral students and junior faculty colleagues and has served on several grant review panels for the NIH. She serves as the Chair of the Continuing Education Oversight Committee for the AAP and is a member of the AAP’s Taskforce for Future Science. She is a member of the Council of Scientific Affairs of the ADA and is their official spokesperson on e-cigarettes and vaping. Dr. Kumar has served on various committees of IADR and is presently the Vice-President of the Periodontal Research Group. She also serves on several task forces for women in science, women in surgery and women in STEM, and volunteers for groups that empower women locally and nationally.
She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology and actively participates in patient care limited to periodontics and implant surgery.