Karthick Gajendiran hails from Madurai, Tamil Nadu, in the south of India. He completed his undergraduate degree in Horticulture (Distinction) from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University and his Masters in Plant Sciences (Entomology and Plant Pathology) from Wageningen University and Research, The Netherlands with an Orange Knowledge Program (OKP) fellowship. He is now doing his PhD in the Plant Sciences program under the supervision of Prof. Brande Wulff at KAUST.
Prior to arriving at KAUST, Karthick’s research focused on the molecular biology and ecology of plant-insect interactions. Mostly, plants are able to recognize their enemies and have developed complex defence mechanisms against pests and diseases. In the Wulff lab, Karthick has switched his focus to plant-microbe interactions, in particular wheat (Triticum aestivum) and the stem rust pathogen (Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici). Stem rust has hampered the cultivation of wheat throughout recorded history. One solution is to develop resistant wheat cultivars. He is excited and intrigued by his research because it combines genetics, genomics and bioinformatics, and has the potential to positively impact not only the scientific community but also the general populace.
In his free time, Karthick enjoys cooking, gardening, and also exploring and cherishing new places and cultures. In addition, he is interested in self-development activities such as reading books (both fiction and non-fiction) and journaling.