Portrait photo of Pushan Bag in front of treesPhD student Pushan Bag (Photo: Jenna Lihavainen)

This week, the International Human Frontier Science Program Organization announced the 65 young researchers that were chosen for a long-term postdoctoral fellowship. One of them and the only one from Sweden is Pushan Bag, PhD student in Stefan Jansson’s group at Umeå Plant Science Centre, Umeå University. He plans to use the grant to join Professor Barry Bruce’s group at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville to work on protein transport during chloroplast development.

Currently, Pushan Bag is working on finalizing his PhD thesis which he will defend in May this year at the Department of Plant Physiology, Umeå University. The Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) fellowship provides him with support for three years and will allow him to broaden his knowledge by working on a new research field in a new research environment.

“Human Frontiers was established in 1989 and is one of the oldest and prestigious postdoctoral grants in life science. I am delighted to receive this grant even before I have officially defended my PhD thesis”, says Pushan Bag. “I am immensely grateful to Umeå University and Umeå Plant Science Centre for the excellent guidance and support during my PhD, which helped me to successfully secure this grant.”

In Stefan Jansson’s group, Pushan Bag is working on how trees adjust their photosynthesis during winter to cope with the cold temperatures. He will continue to work on photosynthesis in the group of Professor Barry Bruce but will move on to a completely different aspect. Using a multifaceted systemic approach, he wants to study the dynamics of transporter proteins that are localised in the chloroplast membrane and facilitate the selective import of other proteins into the chloroplast.

“During my master’s degree at University of Hyderabad in India around 2014, I heard a lecture by Barry Bruce in a conference. While working with chloroplast proteins during my PhD in Stefan Jansson’s group, I became curious on how cells sort proteins to a specific cell organelle,” explains Pushan Bag. “So, I thought of working on chloroplast protein targeting and the first name that came into my mind was Barry Bruce’s. That is why I approached him last year, explained my project idea and showed interest in joining his lab.”

The aim of the International HFSP Organization is to promote international collaboration and training in cutting-edge, interdisciplinary life science research. A total of 493 applications have been received for this year’s HFSP fellowship programme. The 65 chosen fellows are expected to move on to a new field of research in a laboratory in a new country. They will receive a financial package including living, research and travel allowance but also become part of the HFSP network.

“In every step of my PhD I enjoyed the freedom of developing my thoughts and continuing my research in the direction I felt attracted to while Stefan Jansson guided me very carefully all along the way,” says Pushan Bag. “This motivated me to apply for an independent postdoc grant that could provide me with the same freedom and further shape my future in my own way but under the umbrella of an experienced coach.”

Project title: "Assembly, dynamics, and plasticity of plastid translocon biogenesis"

Link to the press release from the International Human Frontier Science Program Organization

For more information, please contact:

Pushan Bag
Umeå Plant Science Centre
Department of Plant Physiology
Umeå University
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Twitter: @BagPushan