Dr Katharine G. Johnston


Aug 2017 - present
Research Fellow, University of Leeds, UK
2014 - 2017
Postdoctoral Research Assistant in Radio/Millimetre Studies of Star Formation, University of Leeds, UK
2010 - 2014
MPIA Postdoctoral Fellowship in (Sub)millimetre Astronomy, Heidelberg, Germany
Apr 2011 - Aug 2011
ALMA Commisioning and Science Verification Team Member, ALMA site and JAO, Chile
2006 - 2010
PhD in Astronomy, University of St Andrews, UK
Title: Observational Signatures of Massive Star Formation: an investigation of the environments in which they form, and the applicability of the paradigm of low-mass star formation
Supervisors: Dr K. Wood (St Andrews), Dr D. Shepherd (NRAO) and Dr E. Keto (CfA)
Link to on-line thesis
Jan 2010 - Oct 2010
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Predoctoral Fellowship
Advisor: Dr E. Keto
2007 - 2008
NRAO Graduate Internship
3 months during 2007/08 studying at NRAO
2002 - 2006
MPhys Astrophysics, University of St Andrews, UK
Honours Project: Searching for Triggered Star Formation in the GLIMPSE Survey
Summer 2005
Six week undergraduate research project, University of St Andrews, UK
Topic: A search for reflected starlight from tau Bootis b
Cormack Scholarship Vacation Award and Undergraduate Research Prize from the Royal Society of Edinburgh

Research interests

I am a Postdoctoral Research Assistant in Radio/Millimetre Studies of Star Formation at the University of Leeds. I study the formation of high-mass stars using observations at infrared through radio wavelengths. At the University of Leeds I am one of the lead members on the e-MERLIN Legacy Programme "Feedback Processes in Massive Star Formation", to observe the ionized gas from forming massive stars at high resolution. I have a particular interest in high-resolution observations at mm wavelengths to resolve discs around massive stars, and have led a team that found and resolved spiral arms in the first Keplerian-like disc around a forming O-type star. I am also interested in how star formation may be different near the centre of our Galaxy, and have studied the massive but apparently quiescent infrared dark cloud G0.253+0.016.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD in Astrophysics
  • MPhys in Astrophysics

Student education

Since 2014 I have jointly supervised masters students in their final year projects, as well as supervised student summer projects. I also currently lead and demonstrate advanced labs for masters students.