Russell Karls

Department of Infectious Diseases
Research Scientist, Senior Research Scientist


  • Bacteriology
  • Disease Modeling
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Microbiology
  • Vaccinology


Research Interests

My research focuses on pathogenic mycobacteria that affect human and animal populations. Studies with the human respiratory pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis employ molecular genetic methods to identify the secondary sigma factors that regulate genes required for infection and disease maintenance. Mutant strains defective in the production of individual sigma factors are tested in various in vitro and animal models of tuberculosis with the long range goal of developing a safe and effective vaccine. Another line of research studies M. avium subspecies paratuberculosis, the etiological agent of Johne’s disease in cattle. Disease symptoms (chronic diarrhea, wasting, and ultimately death) manifest several years after initial infection by this intestinal pathogen. The fecal-oral route is thought to be the primary route of transmission. We are developing intervention strategies to disrupt disease transmission. We are also targeting specific genes in this bacterium to develop a safe and effective vaccine. ​

Educational Background

​PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1997

Selected Publications

My Bibliography – NCBI