Dr Karam Singh

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Prof Singh has a research background in molecular biology and genomics. Initially this was on animal oncogenes during his PhD at the University of California, Berkeley. He then switched to studying the transcriptional control of plant gene regulation, first as a QEII post-doctoral fellow at CSIRO and then as an Assistant/Associate Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). In 1999 he was recruited by CSIRO to set up a new plant biotechnology group in WA, focusing on important issues facing the Australian grains industry. His research focus changed to two major areas; plant responses to biotic stress from 2001 and using genomic approaches for legume crop improvement from 2007. These new areas have allowed Prof Singh to combine basic/strategic research with industry problems.

Prof Singh has held senior scientific leadership positions at CSIRO. In addition, in 2010 he took on a 5 year joint appointment (50:50) between The University of Western Australia (UWA) and CSIRO to drive research interactions in the areas of molecular plant pathology and crop genomics. In late 2016 Prof Singh took on a joint appointment (50:50) between CSIRO and Curtin University, as part of an initiative between Curtin and CSIRO to work together in specific areas of plant agriculture. At Curtin University he serves as Director (Scientific Programs) for the Centre for Crop and Disease Management (CCDM). CCDM started in 2014 as an initial 5 year, $100M partnership between the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and Curtin University, which in 2017 was extended till 2022.

Other Interests

Research Interests and Achievements:

Prof Singh is interested in both fundamental and applied science and how these can benefit Australian agriculture. He has an excellent international reputation for his work in a number of distinct areas of plant biology, namely gene regulation, defence to fungal pathogens and insect pests, and legume crop genomics, as evidenced by his publication record (h-index 40, 43 ISI publications since 2013, with 70% in journals with 5 year impact factors 4; sustained success with competitive funding and numerous invitations to present at international meetings or participate in major research consortia.

Prof Singh’s work to enhance the capacity of plants to cope with specific biotic stresses has high industry relevance, since crops world-wide sustain heavy losses to these stresses on an annual basis. His legume genomic work is also very important since legumes are a vital part of the cropping systems in Australia and elsewhere. He has played a leading role in generating legume pre-breeding resources that are underpinning future research directions and breeding of these crops for many years to come.


Prof Singh is strongly committed to providing excellent research training opportunities for early career researchers, PDFs and PhD/honours students and has extensive experience in these areas.

Academic Qualifications

  • 1981

    B.Sc Hons
    Edinburgh University

  • 1986

    UC Berkeley


We have publications by Dr Karam Singh