Kate Thompson

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

 
Sean Crowe
Vancouver
Canada
 

Research Topic

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

Research Description

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.