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!