Kate Thompson

 
Sean Crowe
Vancouver
Canada
 

Research Topic

The impact of the rare metabolism of photoferrotrophy - photosynthetic iron oxidation - on modern and ancient environments.

Research Description

Kate Thompson was a participant in the 2017 UBC Three Minute Thesis competition, with her presentation, “Bacteria that changed the world”.

I use a variety of growth experiments and molecular techniques to examine how the photoferrotroph Chlorobium phaeoferrooxidans grows. Specifically, I am using growth kinetics combined with genome analyses to discern the proteins required for photoferrotrophy in the green sulfur bacteria (Chlorobi). I am also using both geochemical and genomic modelling to explore how this metabolism impacted life during the first two billion years of Earth's existence in a pre-oxygen world.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

After graduating from my undergraduate program, I returned home to Vancouver to train and compete with the Canadian national Field Hockey team. Since I was required to live in Vancouver to be a part of the team, I knew I would start my graduate degree at UBC. I had to wait, however, because I wanted to do the degree in Geomicrobiology and at the time there wasn't anyone at UBC in that area. Dr. Sean Crowe arrived in March 2013 and I immediately approached him about joining his lab and have been there ever since!

 

Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

I have always been passionate about science as I grew up with two parents who are both Geologists. When I was young, we spent numerous hours exploring outcrops. During high school and as I pursued my undergraduate degree, I realized that my passion for science extended to a passion for lab work - an environment where I could ask endless questions and try to come up with some answers. After graduating with a degree in Microbiology, I knew my future was in academia where the questions never stop.