Professor Duncan Cameron
School of Biosciences
Professor of Plant and Soil Biology
+44 114 222 0066
Full contact details
School of Biosciences
Alfred Denny Building
Duncan Cameron is Professor of Plant and Soil Biology in the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences at the University of Sheffield where his research group investigates the physiology and chemistry of plant-microbe interactions in the soil in the context of sustainable agriculture and global food security. Duncan is co-director of the University of Sheffield Flagship research institute, the Institute for Sustainable Food and is the University of Sheffield's lead academic for the N8 AgriFood program. Duncan's research is highly interdisciplinary, with collaborative projects linking between science, social science and the arts. He is actively engaged in public engagement, recent projects include the multi-media sci-art collaboration, Gaiamycota, the Sound of Science, and AquaKulture. Duncan actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion at The University of Sheffield as a gay role model.
After receiving his BSc in Animal and Plant Biology from The University of Sheffield and his PhD in Plant and Soil Sciences from the University of Aberdeen, Duncan undertook post-doctoral research in Sheffield before taking up a Royal Society University Research Fellowship and has held international fellowships in Germany and Australia. Duncan has extensive experience in translational research in the UK and overseas where he has taken his basic research findings into agricultural practice. In 2013, he received the World Economic Forum’s Young Scientist Award for “extraordinary scientists from across academic disciplines and geographies, under the age of 40, who commit to integrating scientific knowledge into society for the public good”. Most recently, he has worked with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to develop micro-agricultural systems for the production of fresh food in Jordan’s refugee camps.
- Research interests
Duncan is a soil microbiologist/environmental biochemist and his research focuses on resolving resource fluxes and chemical signals in plant-microbe interactions in both agricultural and natural systems. He uses a combination of methods including metabolomics, isotope tracers and molecular biology to understand the mechanisms underpinning multi species interactions as well as to understand the biological drivers of soil quality. Duncan has extensive experience in translational research in the UK and overseas where he has taken his basic research findings into agricultural practice. Most recently, he has developed micro-agricultural systems for food production in hyper arid regions of the world with collaborators Prof. Tony Ryan OBE and Jacob Nickles at the University of Sheffield. He is active in defining agricultural and environmental policy; in 2015 he addressed the United Nations at COP21 in Paris discussing his work on soil security and UN COP22 in Marrakesh in 2016.
- How scientists and refugees brought green to the Desert Garden. Nature Reviews Earth & Environment. View this article in WRRO
- Niche differentiation and plasticity in soil phosphorus acquisition among co-occurring plants. Nature Plants, 6(4), 349-354. View this article in WRRO
- The hidden potential of urban horticulture. Nature Food, 1, 155-159. View this article in WRRO
- Comparison of independent evolutionary origins reveals both convergence and divergence in the metabolic mechanisms of symbiosis. Current Biology, 30(2), 328-334.e4. View this article in WRRO
- The regulation of plant secondary metabolism in response to abiotic stress : interactions between heat shock and elevated CO2. Frontiers in Plant Science, 10. View this article in WRRO
- Metabolic regulation of the maize rhizobiome by benzoxazinoids. The ISME Journal, 13, 1647-1658. View this article in WRRO
- Functional complementarity of ancient plant‐fungal mutualisms: contrasting nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon exchanges between Mucoromycotina and Glomeromycotina fungal symbionts of liverworts. New Phytologist. View this article in WRRO
- Variation and asymmetry in host-symbiont dependence in a microbial symbiosis. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 18(1). View this article in WRRO
- The interactive effects of arbuscular mycorrhiza and plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria synergistically enhance host plant defences against pathogen. Scientific Reports, 7(1). View this article in WRRO
- The chemical signatures underlying host plant discrimination by aphids. Sci Rep, 7(1). View this article in WRRO
- An agenda for integrated system-wide interdisciplinary agri-food research. Food Security, 9(2), 195-210. View this article in WRRO
- The environmental impact of fertilizer embodied in a wheat-to-bread supply chain. Nature Plants, 3. View this article in WRRO
- Isotopic evidence of partial mycoheterotrophy in Burmannia coelestis (Burmanniaceae). Plant Species Biology, 32(1), 74-80. View this article in WRRO
- Understanding metabolism of arginine in biological systems via MALDI imaging. PROTEOMICS, 16(11-12), 1690-1694. View this article in WRRO
- Metabolic constraints for a novel symbiosis. Royal Society Open Science, 3(3), 150708-150708. View this article in WRRO
- Shining a Light on Exploitative Host Control in a Photosynthetic Endosymbiosis. Current Biology, 26(2), 207-211. View this article in WRRO
- Manipulating stomatal density enhances drought tolerance without deleterious effect on nutrient uptake. New Phytologist, 208(2), 336-341. View this article in WRRO
- From mycoheterotrophy to mutualism: mycorrhizal specificity and functioning in Ophioglossum vulgatumsporophytes. New Phytologist, 205(4), 1492-1502. View this article in WRRO
- Integrating ecology and physiology of root-hemiparasitic interaction: interactive effects of abiotic resources shape the interplay between parasitism and autotrophy. New Phytologist, 205(1), 350-360. View this article in WRRO
- Mycorrhiza-induced resistance: more than the sum of its parts?. Trends in Plant Science, 18(10), 539-545. View this article in WRRO
- Parasitic plant litter input: a novel indirect mechanism influencing plant community structure.. New Phytol, 198(1), 222-231.
- Contrasting arbuscular mycorrhizal responses of vascular and non-vascular plants to a simulated Palaeozoic CO₂ decline.. Nat Commun, 3, 835.
- The role of heterotrophic carbon acquisition by the hemiparasitic plant Rhinanthus alectorolophus in seedling establishment in natural communities: a physiological perspective.. New Phytol, 192(1), 188-199.
- Genetic variation changes the interactions between the parasitic plant-ecosystem engineer Rhinanthus and its hosts. PHILOS T R SOC B, 366(1569), 1380-1388.
- ISOTOPIC EVIDENCE OF PARTIAL MYCOHETEROTROPHY IN THE GENTIANACEAE: BARTONIA VIRGINICA AND OBOLARIA VIRGINICA AS CASE STUDIES. AM J BOT, 97(8), 1272-1277.
- Heterotrophic carbon gain by the root hemiparasites, Rhinanthus minor and Euphrasia rostkoviana (Orobanchaceae). PLANTA, 231(5), 1137-1144.
- Parasite-grass-forb interactions and rock-paper- scissor dynamics: predicting the effects of the parasitic plant Rhinanthus minor on host plant communities. J ECOL, 97(6), 1311-1319.
- The chlorophyll-containing orchid Corallorhiza trifida derives little carbon through photosynthesis.. New Phytol, 183(2), 358-364.
- Giving and receiving: measuring the carbon cost of mycorrhizas in the green orchid, Goodyera repens.. New Phytol, 180(1), 176-184.
- Teaching interests
Duncan’s core interests come together in his lectures for APS276 (Symbiosis) where he explores the evolution and ecology of mutualism and parasitism in plants and fungi. This module takes an innovative approach beginning with a series of lectures to provide background material followed by six guest seminars from internal and external speakers who will provide access to the cutting edge of symbiosis research including sharing their own most recent research breakthroughs.
Duncan designed and is course director for the MSc in Sustainable Agricultural Technologies launched in 2019 and lectures on soil science and analytical chemistry as well as supervising MSc research projects. The MSc is designed to equip students with the knowledge needed to understand the challenges of sustainable agriculture, and the skills to pursue an exciting career in the agri-tech sector. Students learn from the experts behind our flagship Institute for Sustainable Food which brings together expertise from across the University of Sheffield to find dynamic solutions to the challenges of food security and sustainability. The course allows students to put their knowledge into practice through external placements with our industrial, government and NGO partners.