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. In particular, I study the environment in which massive stars form and how this environment is affected by the development of an HII region (a region of hot ionized gas) due to the UV radiation they produce. At the University of Leeds I am a team member 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 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.


  • PhD in Astrophysics
  • MPhys in Astrophysics

Professional memberships

  • Member of the Royal Astronomical Society

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.

Postgraduate research opportunities

We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our research opportunities allow you to search for projects and scholarships.