Katie is a professor of Plant-Soil Processes. Her research seeks to improve sustainability in agriculture through the potential exploitation of soil microorganisms.
Prof. Katie has always been fascinated in how plants, animals and microbes all come together to form the complex ecosystems around us today. Her research spans 500 million years of land plant evolution, focusing on the interactions between plants and the soil around them, including the myriad of microorganisms that inhabit the below-ground environment.
In particular, she is interested in the role of soil fungi in plant nutrition in ancient and modern ecosystems, including the role of soil fungi in helping plants get a foothold on land when they started making the transition from an aquatic to terrestrial existence in the Early Devonian.
Outside the office, you will likely find her walking her two dogs around Sheffield and the nearby Peak District. Katie is also a creative mind and likes to find time to throw on the potter's wheel whenever she can.
Plants wouldn’t have made it out of the water 450 million years ago if not for their collaboration with fungi. They are an ancient and extraordinary kingdom that exists everywhere. But if fungi are so essential, why are they so easy to miss?