Brijesh Karakkat


Post-doctoral Researcher

Department of Plant Pathology
285 Russell Labs
1630 Linden Drive
Madison, WI 53706


I am a post-doctoral researcher in the Koch lab and I started my journey here in UW-Madison Plant Pathology in the fall of 2014. My research and educational background have been primarily in fungal genetics- which I love the most- but I also have prior experience in plant molecular biology and breeding research. My main project is detecting the rust fungus Puccinia in turfgrass using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (QPCR), a molecular technique that uses flourescent gene sequence probes specific to the different Puccinia species. I am currently analyzing over 400 infected turfgrass samples collected from different areas around the Midwest in the past couple of years. Another project that I started work on right now is determining whether light plays a role in pink snowmold and how it affects the disease severity.

For these aforementioned research areas, I am fortunate enough to be working with undergraduate student workhorses who assist me with the majority of my data collection. Other than these projects, I am also extremely lucky to travel and visit golf courses for carrying out fungicide trials with Paul, Bruce, and Sam who are always a thoroughly joyful company.

I would continue working with Paul as long as he likes me and also because I love this department, its resources, and people and there is nothing more I can ask for. My long term goal would be to have a stable career as a researcher in an academic or industrial setup with maybe some access to teaching as I like to bounce my ideas off students because there are always novel ideas I get from interacting with the next generation.

In my free time, I like to do new things. But I usually watch and play soccer, tennis, and cricket (likeness of the sport in that order). I love to eat butter chicken from Indian restaurants in Madison. Madison is a beautiful town and I fell in love the first time I saw it. You will also catch me talking and sharing ideas about technology and computers in my lunch time and late evening hours and am a big fan of Hollywood and Bollywood movies. I also am lately interested in metaphysics.

Previous Experience

Post-doctoral research at Michigan State University, 2012-2014


Ph.D. Plant Pathology (Fungal Genetics). University of Georgia – Athens, 2006-2011

M.S. Plant Sciences. Missouri State University. 2004-2005

Peer Reviewed Publications

1. Karakkat, B., Jackson, V., Koch, P.L. 2017.  Incidence and distribution of Puccinia coronata and P. graminis on turfgrass in the Midwestern United States. Plant Disease.

2. Karakkat, B., Gold, S.E. and Covert, S.F. 2013. Two members of the Ustilago maydis velvet family influence teliospore development and virulence on maize seedlings. Fungal Genetics and Biology. 61:111-119

3. Montgomery, B.L., Oh, S., and Karakkat, B. 2014. Molecular basis and fitness implications of the interplay between light and regulation of iron homeostasis in photosynthetic organisms. Environmental and Experimental Botany.

4. … many more to come!

University of Wisconsin-Madison