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Purnima Kumar, DDS, PhD



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. She received her dental degree from Annamalai University in India, and her Masters in Periodontology and PhD in Molecular Microbiology from The Ohio State University. She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology and a Fellow of the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) program, the International College of Dentists and the American Association for Oral, Dental and Craniofacial Research. Dr. Kumar is the Principal Investigator of Oral Microbial Ecology Laboratory at the University of Michigan that is funded through the NIH, NCI, and oral healthcare industry.  She has authored over 100 papers and book chapters and serves as the Co-Editor of Clinical Advances in Periodontics, and as Associate Editor of the Journal of Periodontology, Nature Scientific Reports and Microbiome. She is an active clinician, teacher, researcher, administrator, and mentor. She 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.

Dr. Kumar 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 the Vice-Chair 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 President-Elect of the Periodontal Research Group. She also serves several taskforces for women in science, women in surgery and women in STEM. She also volunteers for groups that empower women such as Support the Girls and is a founding board member of the Indian Women’s Collaboration, a Columbus non-profit organization that serves to uplift, educate, and empower women in India and of Indian origin.


Periodontal health and Preterm Birth, RA and the subgingival microbiome

Research Area(s)

Biofilms | Bioinformatics | Clinical research | patient outcomes


  • Principal investigator of: Wrigley Translational Study - SubK
  • Principal investigator of: E-cigarettes and perturbations in the subgingival ecosystem
  • Principal investigator of: Bio-Responsive and Immune Protein-Based Therapies for Inhibition of Proteolytic Enzymes in Dental Tissues
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