Dhruv Agrawal's passion for microbiology has led him from India to an 'EC' postdoctoral fellowship at Umeå Plant Science Centre at Umeå University. His research focuses on understanding the role of protein complexes that help in the regulation of growth and development in model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.
What is your academic background?
“My academic journey reflects a strong commitment to advancing my knowledge in the field of microbiology and life sciences. I have completed a bachelor’s degree in microbiology at the University of Delhi in India. Subsequently, I pursued my passion for microbiology by earning a master’s degree from Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar. Building upon this foundation, I attained a PhD degree in life sciences, specializing in microbiology, also from Guru Nanak Dev University.”
How did you end up in Northern Sweden and at Umeå University?
“I discovered the vacant job posted on the 'Nature Careers' website. Umeå University's exceptional infrastructure, particularly the Umeå Plant Science Centre (UPSC) and Umeå Centre for Microbial Research (UCMR), captured my attention. The prospect of working with plants, coupled with the opportunity to delve into multi-subunit proteins systems, was the primary motivation behind my decision to apply for a postdoc fellowship. This unique combination of resources and research focus at Umeå University aligns with my professional aspirations.”
What is your research focusing on?
“My research is focused on the exploration of the COP9 signalosome (CSN) complex, with a particular emphasis on its functional and structural aspects within the model plant thale cress, Arabidopsis thaliana. It is fascinating to note that this multi-subunit proteins system exhibits a distinctive form in this botanical model.”
“I am genuinely thrilled to be immersed in the study of plant systems, and I approach my work with great enthusiasm. The prospect of delving into the intricate realm of plant proteins is both exciting and promising. My research in biological processes and mechanisms that govern the growth and development of plants, can also give valuable insights into the broader field of biology and biotechnology.”
What is challenging and rewarding respectively with being a researcher?
“The role of a researcher is not without its share of challenges, including the pressures of meeting deadlines and the inevitability of uncertainty and occasional setbacks, it offers a range of profound and fulfilling rewards. The foremost among these is the intellectual gratification derived from delving into the unknown, unravelling complexities, and making novel discoveries.”
“In addition to personal and professional growth, research paves the way for societal advancement. The knowledge, innovations, and solutions generated through research contribute to the betterment of society, addressing critical challenges and improving the quality of life.”
Where do you see yourself in five years?
“I see myself in five years as a seasoned professional, actively engaged in projects that contribute to the betterment of society, and I aspire to be recognized for my dedication and impact in my chosen field. I intend to take on more challenging and impactful roles, assuming positions of greater responsibility that allow me to not only excel in my professional domain but also mentor and inspire others. Furthermore, I plan to expand my network and collaborations, fostering connections with like-minded individuals and organizations who share a passion for effecting positive change.”
What are your first impressions of Umeå and the Umeå University?
“My initial impressions of Umeå and Umeå University have been exceptionally favourable. Umeå's fusion of urban living and the surrounding natural beauty is not only inviting but also harmonious. The university's unwavering dedication to excellence, its celebration of diversity, and its culture of innovation are inspiring. I look forward to an intellectually enriching and personally fulfilling experience here.”
“The climatic contrast between Umeå and my previous residence in India is notable. The cooler weather here presents a new and exciting experience for me, with my first encounter with snowfall being an awesome and memorable moment.”
What is your driving force to do research?
“My driving force for conducting research in life science is a profound fascination with the intricate mechanisms of life, from molecular level to ecosystems. Life science research offers a unique opportunity to unravel the mysteries of biology, health, and the environment, and to contribute to advancements that can enhance human well-being and our understanding of the natural world.”
Me in three words: Passionate, simple, organized
Interests: Music, sketching and movies
Favourite book: The perks of being a wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Streaming: Biopics (biographical movies)
Listening to: Country music
Miss from home: Street food from the local vendors
The first Swedish word I learnt: Vatten
On my bucket list: Learn scuba diving
Favourite holiday spot: Summer evenings on the beach
Enjoy: Cooking, and it saddens me when I see the food go to waste
Text: Ingrid Söderbergh, UCMR & Umeå University