Karl Kador, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department(s) of Biomedical Sciences, Ophthalmology
UMKC School of Medicine
Education and Background

B.S. - Chemistry - The College of William and Mary
M.S. - Chemical Engineering - University of Nebraska at Lincoln
Ph.D. - Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering - University of Nebraska at Lincoln

Meet Karl Kador
Why did you get involved in research?

My mom claimed she always knew I was going to be an engineer because I used to spend hours and hours each day playing with Legos. Even today, I still have Legos, graduating to the more mature engineering sets. I even used one in a science fair competition. Now I get to use those science and design skills in trying to create new tissues, though I still enjoy getting the little packs of Lego landmarks of the different places that I’ve been.

What was the first research laboratory you worked in?

The first lab that I worked in, I was 16 and was actually at the National Institutes of Health. I grew up in Maryland and my dad worked at the NIH. The institute offered programs through my high school for students who were good in chemistry and biology that allowed us to have summer internships at the NIH. It was a lot of learning the basic things, and I remember learning a lot of biology.

What has been your most unique laboratory experience?

When I was studying in Nebraska, our department chair was well-known for his blood work. Harrison Ford was doing research for a role in the movie, Extraordinary Measures, so he came to our department to see what our labs looked like and what we did. I got to meet him and still have a Harrison Ford signed copy of Star Wars and a picture of him in the middle of our lab doing the Harrison Ford pose. Now I just have to figure out a way to get Mark Hamill to come out here and sign a copy of Return of the Jedi.

Research Focus

Injuries and diseases of the optic nerve.

Dr. Kador is developing tissue engineering methods to create and transplant new cells to replace diseased and dead cells in order to restore vision to patients suffering end stage diseases of the retina and optic nerve.

Research Summary

My research interests lie at the intersection of chemistry, life sciences and engineering. Specifically, I am interested in the fields of biomaterials and tissue engineering.  I believe the future is in the union of these two fields, using modified biomaterials to give mechanical and chemical stimuli for growth and proper differentiation of cells in order to create cell material composite implants for the treatment of disease.  Here at the UMKC, my research has focused on creating three dimensional models of the retina that can be used to understand how retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) integrate and form synapses with their binding partners within the retina and develop methods to determine if RGCs we differentiate in vitro are able to respond functionally similarly to cells which are purified from tissue.  In the lab, we have developed scaffolds to recreate the organization of the retina and patterned immobilized guidance molecules onto these surfaces to polarize cell growth. We have shown that these techniques are able to mimic the alignment of the nerve fiber layer of the retina and have been used to transplant RGCs ex vivo.  Ultimately, we hope that these models and scaffolds will be used to develop a functional cell source and transplantation method to treat optic neuropathies such as glaucoma and optic nerve stroke.

Selected Publications

Kador KE*, Grogan SP*, Dorthé E, Venugopalan P, Malek M, D’Lima DD, Goldberg JL. (2016) Control of retinal ganglion cell positioning and neurite growth: combining 3D printing with radial electrospun scaffolds. Tissue Engineering Part A,Vol 22(3-4): 286-294.

Moysidis, SN, Alvarez-Delfin K, Peshansky VJ, Salero-Coca EL, Weisman AD, Raffa A, Merkhofer Jr. RM, Kador KE, Kunzevitzky NJ, Goldberg JL. (2015) Magnetic Field-Guided Cell Delivery with Nanoparticle-Loaded Human Corneal Endothelial Cells. Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine, Vol 11(3): 499-509. 

Kador KE, Alsehli H*,  Zindell AN*, Lau L, Andreopoulos FA, Watson B, Goldberg JL. (2014) Retinal ganglion cell polarization using immobilized guidance cues on a tissue engineered scaffold. Acta Biomaterialia, Vol 10(12): 4939-4946.

Kador KE, Montero RB, Venugopalan P, Hertz J, Zindell AN, Valenzuela DA, Uddin MS, Lavik EB, Muller KJ, Andreopoulos FM, Goldberg JL. (2013) Tissue Engineering the Retinal Ganglion Cell Nerve Fiber Layer. Biomaterials, Vol. 34(17): 4242-4250.

Kador KE, Goldberg JL. (2012) Scaffolds and Stem Cells: Delivery of Cell Transplants for Retinal Degenerations. Expert Reviews of Ophthalmology, Vol 7(5): 459-470.

Kador K, Subramanian A. (2011) Selective modification of chitosan to enable the formation of chitosan-DNA condensates by electron donator stabilization, International Journal of Carbohydrate Chemistry, Vol 2011: 1-11. 

Kador KE, Subramanian A. (2011) Surface Modification of Biomedical Grade Polyurethane to Enable the Ordered Co-immobilization of Two Proteins.  Journal of Biomaterials Science, Polymer Ed., Vol. 22(15):1983-1999.

Kador KE, Mamedov TG, Schneider M, Subramanian A. (2011) Sequential Co-immobilization of Thrombomodulin and Endothelial Protein C Receptor on Polyurethane: Activation of Protein C. Acta Biomaterialia, Vol. 7(6): 2508-2517.

Chou CL, Yip KP, Michea L, Kador K, Ferraris JD, Wade JB, and Knepper MA. (2000) Regulation of aquaporin-2 trafficking by vasopressin in renal collecting duct: roles of ryanodine-sensitive Ca2+ stores and calmodulin.  Journal of Biological Chemistry, Vol. 275(47): 36839-36846.