Dr Puja Kumari
Dr Puja Kumari

Dr Puja Kumari


Research Fellow (Experienced Researcher)



I am a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen. I am a Phycologist working in the field algal stress physiology, lipid biochemistry, metabolomics, chemical ecology and algal bioprospection. My research has led to 36 peer-reviewed publications in ISI-listed journals, 3 book chapters and one patent on the development of an integrated process to recover a spectrum of bio-products from fresh seaweeds (2016 International Patent WO 2015/102021A8, 2018 US 10000579B2, 2018 EP3089999B1, 2019 AU2014374908B2). I am particularly interested in establishing a deep understanding of how different algae interact with its abiotic and biotic environment from climate change perspectives using different omics approaches. Currently, I am working on the  halogen metabolism in brown macroalgae and its biological significance in the context of pathologies (HALOSPATH). 

Research Career detalis:

23 Nov, 2020 - Present: Marie Curie Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Aberdeen, UK.

Nov, 2018 - Sep, 2020: JSPS Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Hokkaido University, Japan.

Dec, 2017 - Sep, 2018: Blaustein Postdoctoral Research Fellow, French Associates Institute for Agriculture and Biotechnology of Drylands, BIDR, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beersheba, Israel.

Nov, 2014 - Nov, 2016: ARO Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Agricultural Research Organization, Rishon Lezyion, Israel.

Nov, 2007 - Oct, 2013: Doctoral Student (CSIR-JRF and CSIR-SRF), CSIR-Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute and M K Bhavnagar University, Gujarat, India.




  • PhD Biotechnolgy 
    2014 - Maharaja Krishnakumarsinhji Bhavnagar University and CSIR-Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute, India 
  • MSc Biochemistry 
    2007 - Patna University, India 
  • BSc Chemistry Hons. 
    2004 - Patna University, India 

External Memberships

Professional member of Marine Biological Association (MBA) since August 2022.

Associate Editor Frontiers in Marine Sciences (section Marine Biotechnology and Bioproducts) since July 2021.

Member of British Phycological Society since January, 2021.

Member of International Phycological Society since February, 2021.

Member of North East Algal Society (NEAS) since February, 2021.

Prizes and Awards

  1. Seal of Excellence Certificate delivered by the European Commission, for the project proposal 747991, HALOMICS, submitted under the Horizon 2020’s Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions call H2020-MSCA-IF-2016 of 14 September 2016.
  2. Awarded £1000 bursary visiting fellowship award by the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, UK for MSCA propsal grant writing towards early career development, 2015.  
  3. Qualified in CSIR-UGC National Eligibility Test for Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) and Lectureship June, 2007 and June, 2008.
  4. Qualified in National Graduate Aptitude Test for Engineering (GATE 2006) -conducted by Indian institute of Technology, Govt. of India

Research Overview

I am interested in algal abiotic and biotic stress physiology under combinatorial climate stressors. My research interests are to develop strategies to obtain improved climate reselient algal strains and also to develop disease monitoring strategies that can directly/indirectly help the algal practitioners especially involved in algal farming. Additionally, I am also interested in bioprospection of algae in view of their nutraceutical, health, food and pharmaceutical applications.

Research Areas

Biological and Environmental Sciences


Research Specialisms

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Aquatic Biology

Our research specialisms are based on the Higher Education Classification of Subjects (HECoS) which is HESA open data, published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.

Current Research

Halogen metabolism in brown algae and its biological significance in the context of pathologies- An omics approach (HALOSPATH):- My current research focuses on unravelling the role of halogen metabolism in defense and immunity mechanisms of brown macroalgae against pathogens using metabolomics and transcriptomics approaches. 


Past Research

1.   JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship (26 November, 2018 – 30 September, 2020)

Studied acquisition and maintenance of stress tolerance mechanisms to combinational environmental stresses (temperature, salinity, osmolality and nutrition) in red seaweeds Pyropia and Bangia species during their different life cycle stages using metabolomics, lipidomics and other biochemical oxidative stress markers. 

2.     BCSC Postdoctoral Fellowship (5 December, 2017-30 September, 2018)

1) Studied volatilomics of oleaginous microalga Lobosphaera incisa under nitrogen stress. For the first time showed the role of volatile signals under nitrogen stress in L. incisa (Published in Frontiers in Marine Science 2020, 7:410).

2) Studied role of PUFAs in abiotic stress tolerance in Lobosphaera incisa using different PUFA biosynthetic mutants. (Published in Plant Cell Physiol 2019, doi:10.1093/pcp/pcz013)

3) Studied freezing tolerance mechanisms in Lobosphaera incisa (Published in J. Phycol. 2019, https://doi.org/10.1111/jpy.12948)

3.     ARO Postdoctoral Fellowship (1 November, 2014 - 15 November, 2016)

Project 1: Strigolactone signaling in Arabidopsis.

Ø  Studied strigolactone transport mechanism in the context of cell trafficking system. (Published in Mol. Plant 2015, 8(12), 1809-12)

Ø  Studied how the expression of MAX2 under SCARECROW promoter enhances the strigolactone/MAX2 dependent response of Arabidopsis roots to low-phosphate conditions. (Published in Planta 2016, 243, 1419-27)

Ø  Studied the role of twisted dwarf (TWD1) protein in strigolactone signaling in Arabidopsis roots under low phosphate conditions using loss and gain of function allele mutants and for the first time showed that TWD1 acts as a repressor of strigolactone signaling. (Abstract in ISPS Conference Proceedings, Tel Aviv University, Israel, 28thSeptember, 2016)

Project 2: Studied the gene expression of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) in HCT116 and anti-inflammatory markers (COX2, MMP9, iNOS), and others including NOD2, CARD9, Occludin, Zona Occludens in colon and breast cancer cell lines (HCT116, MDA) and colon biopsies of intestinal bowel disease (IBD) patients treated with active fractions of medicinal plants (Cannabis sativa and Ephedra foeminea). (Published in Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2017, 2.1:167-182, J Med Plants Res 2017, 11(43): 690-702)

4. Doctoral Research (13th November, 2007-10th October, 2013)

Thesis Title - Study of lipids, fatty acids and their derivatives in seaweeds.

Ø  Method optimization: Method development for efficient qualitative and quantitative extraction and derivatization of lipids and fatty acids from macroalgae by GC-MS, using statistical approach of experimental design and method validation for three different species of green, red and brown macroalgae. (Published in Anal Biochem, 2011, 415, 134-144)

Ø  Fatty acid profiling: Fatty acid profiling of 100 macroalgae from Indian coast by GC-MS, from their chemotaxonomic and nutritional perspectives, using multivariate principal component and hierarchal cluster analyses. Assessment of correlation of fatty acid profiles of macroalgae with their evolutionary endosymbiotic history. (Published in Phytochemistry, 2013, 86, 44-56)

Ø  Lipidomic analysis: Study of different lipid classes’ composition of macroalgae by solid-phase extraction, TLC and molecular ion composition of their polar lipidome by ESI-MS.

Ø  Oxylipin analysis: Quantitative targeted profiling of endogenous hydroxy- and hydroperoxy-oxylipins of macroalgae using HPLC and their chemotaxonomy implications using principal component analysis and hierarchal clustering. (Published in Mar. Biotechnol. 2014, 16, 74-87)

Ø  Nitrate and phosphate regimes induced lipidomic and biochemical alterations in Ulva lactuca: Studied lipidome, fatty acids, oxylipins, lipid hydroperoxides and lipoxygenase, as well as biochemical parameters including phytohormones, carbohydrates, protein and nutrient assimilatory enzymes (nitrate reductase and phosphatases) in Ulva lactuca subjected to different nutritional constraints of nitrate/phosphate or both. (A part on lipid hydroperoxides published in J. Phycol. 2012, 48, 1362-1373 and rest of the entire work in Plant Cell Physiol. 2014, 55, 52-63.

Ø  Methyl jasmonate induced oxidative stress: Studied the lipidomics (fatty acids, oxylipins and polar lipidome), oxidative stress (ROS generation and in situ localization) and biochemical alterations in pigments, phenolic compounds, lipoxygenase and enzymes involved in secondary metabolism including polyphenol oxidase, phenyl-ammonia lyase and shikimate dehydrogenase in Gracilaria dura treated with methyl jasmonate. For the first time unravelled the lipidome of Gracilaria sp. (Published in Plant Cell Physiol. 2015, 56(10), 1877-1889).



My current supervision areas are: Biological and Environmental Sciences.

Dr. Hanan Saad Al-Adilah (as a Co-Supervisor)


Funding and Grants

  1. Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships awarded by European Union (Grant agreement number-839151), (23 November 2020- 22 November 2022), University of Aberdeen, UK, with Prof. Frithjof Kuepper.
  2. JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship (2018-2020) awarded by Japanese Society for Promotion of Science, Japan, with Prof. Koji Mikami.
  3. BCSC Postdoctoral Fellowship (2017-2019) awarded by Blaustein Institute of Desert Research, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, with Prof. Inna Khozin-Goldberg.
  4. ARO Outstanding Post-doctoral Fellowship (2014-2016) awarded by Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Israel, with Prof. Hinanit Koltai.
  5. Senior Research Fellowship (2011-2013) awarded by CSIR, Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD), Indian Government, New Delhi.
  6. Junior Research Fellowship (2009-2011) awarded by CSIR, Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD), Indian Government, New Delhi.



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