Katie Field

Job Title: UAF in Soil-Plant Processes

How do the biotic and abiotic environments interact to drive plant evolution and the development of the terrestrial biosphere?


This key question underpins my research approach, coupling field ecology with state-of-the-art biochemical approaches to develop a fuller understanding of how plants respond to environmental change. I am particularly interested in the regulation of carbon-for-nutrient exchange, and the impact of atmospheric CO2, in plant-fungal symbioses (mycorrhizas).


I completed my PhD in plant ecophysiology at the University of Sheffield in 2009 before moving on to my first postdoctoral position, also at Sheffield, investigating the functioning of fungal associations in a variety of early branching lineages of land plants. The latest focus of my research has been in establishing the physiological basis and efficiency of the newly discovered liverwort-Mucoromycotina fungal symbiosis. This project is a collaborative NERC-funded grant involving scientists from the Natural History Museum in London, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the University of Sheffield and Imperial College London. My work has taken me all over the world; from dune slacks in Anglesey to temperate rain forests in New Zealand and my findings have formed the basis for the translational science I will be conducting in Leeds.


My role as an Academic Fellow in plant-soil processes has given me the opportunity to translate my research with wild plant species into key European crops. By using combined ecophysiology, cutting-edge metabolomics and isotope tracer technologies, my research aims to expand our understanding of crop-mycorrhiza-environment interactions with critical applications for the future of sustainable agriculture.


I am committed to broadening the impact of research and regularly participate in outreach activities, such as the Gatsby Plants initiative and the University of Sheffield’s Researchers night. I also engage with a variety of wider science communication outlets including online, print and radio media (e.g. http://wamc.org/post/dr-katie-field-university-sheffield-survival-strategy-early-plants#stream/0).



Twitter: @katiefield4