Kate graduated with honours after studying plant pathology, plant physiology and microbiology as part of a modular degree. Having been advised by tutors that she would be unlikely to find a job if she continued with such diverse studies, Kate followed her interests and used her knowledge to secure research positions at the University of Birmingham and at Long Ashton Research Station, Bristol (which sadly closed in 2003 after having served agriculture & horticulture for 100 years) before beginning work with amenity turf in 1990.
Kate obtained her PhD in 1995, became a Chartered Biologist in 1996 and is a Member of the Royal Society of Biology.
Since 1990, Kate has worked exclusively with disease problems in managed amenity turf. Her initial interest in fungal disease problems has expanded over the years and she now has an holistic approach to disease identification. Very few turf disease problems occur without either a pre-disposing ‘stress’ or without some influence by an additional biotic factor. Symptoms of disease most often develop as a complex and by identifying them, we can often determine not only what is causing the current problem but also, why it is developing in the place that it is. For the past 20 years, Kate has been interested in the role of plant parasitic nematodes and the stress that their feeding activity can cause to managed amenity turf. Some of the worst fungal disease problems are stress-related and nematode feeding can often be a potential factor in many, and especially recurring, fungal disease outbreaks.
When she’s not looking at turf, Kate enjoys getting away from everything on long distance walks with her sister-in-law and other close friends. Kate has completed some spectacular walks including the West Highland Way (a very wet and in part, very remote, 154km from Milngavie north of Glasgow to Fort William in the Scottish Highlands), the Pennine Way (an emotional and challenging 435km along the Pennine ‘spine’ of the UK from Edale to Kirk Yetholm), the high route Tour du Mt Blanc (a truly breath-taking 170km that takes in the whole of the Mont Blanc Massif, with almost 10,000m of cumulative descent and ascent) and the Coast to Coast (293km, self guided walk across the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors).