We are a team of interdisciplinary researchers at different career stages including postdocs, PhD students and technicians working together to address some of the World’s most serious problems such as food security and climate change. We are international, with our team members nationals of Australia, Bangladesh, Denmark, India, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Syria, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
Prof Duncan Cameron
Duncan Cameron is Professor of Plant and Soil Biology in the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences at the University of Sheffield. He is an environmental microbiologist and analytical biochemist studying the physiology and chemistry of plant-microbe interactions in the soil in the context of sustainable agriculture and global food security as well as the evolution of microbial symbiosis. Duncan is co-director of the University of Sheffield Flagship research institute, the Institute for Sustainable Food. Duncan’s research is highly interdisciplinary, with collaborative projects linking between science, social science and the arts. 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”.
Dr Anne Cotton
Senior Research associate/Researcher co-investigator
Anne’s research focuses on microbial communities and the factors that influence their diversity, structure and function. She did her PhD studying the effects of atmospheric change on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi at the University of York. After this Anne has been a postdoc at the universities of Hull, Essex and Sheffield studying a wide range of aspects of microbial ecology. This has included projects examining whether alterations in soil fungal communities could be responsible for biodiversity-productivity relationships in grasslands and looking at the interactions between plant root chemistry and root associated fungal and bacterial communities.
Anne works on the NERC PARAMO and is researcher co-investigator on the BBSRC Bacterial diseases project. Anne was previously PDRA on the ERA-CAPS/BBSRC BENZEX project. Anne is jointly supervised with Tim Daniell
Senior Research associate and Knowledge exchange fellow
Jacob moved to Sheffield to begin his own business, and has been running and growing The Red Deer public house in the city centre since 2011. In 2015 Jacob collaborated with Prof. Duncan Cameron on a project looking into the omics of beer and related products, resulting in the recruitment and funding of a PhD student and Jacob’s subsequent role as industrial supervisor. Jacob was approached by The University of Sheffield in 2016 to act as Project Manager on an agricultural technology feasibility study in Oman. The resultant work from Jacob and his colleagues produced a successful grant application with the British Council, building an institutional link with Sohar University and securing £397,000 to build and demonstrate sustainable agricultural technologies for controlled growing of sensitive crops. In 2018 Jacob was asked to develop aquaponic systems in Kathmandu on a GCRF grant, with a view for further development and dissemination of agricultural systems and technology planned in conjunction with DFID Nepal. Recently, he has been project lead on an internally funded urban farm and training facility in Sheffield city centre, whereby hydroponics and controlled growing environments.
Jacob is named research associate on the NERC Signals in the soil and BBSRC bacterial diseases projects.
Dr Harry Wright
Harry competed his PhD chemistry where he optimised the formulation of polyurethane foams to be used as synthetic soils in the horticultural sector and is applying this knowledge to the bacterial diseases project. He completed his MEng (Chemical) with distinction, with his thesis specialising in PVC thermal degradation. He completed his BEng (Chemical) honours in 2013 with distinction, the honours subjects taken were all in the field of Polymer Science.
Harry is named research associate on the BBSRC Bacterial disease project and is jointly supervised with Tony Ryan. Harry’s PhD was also jointly supervised with Tony and was funded through the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures
Dr Sara Moeskjær
Sara is a molecular microbiologist and works on the NERC PARAMO project. Sara is jointly supervised with Tim Daniell
Dr Natalie Barratt
Natalie is a molecular microbiologist and research associate on the BBSRC Bacterial disease project and is jointly supervised with Tim Daniell.
Dr Rich Cottrell
Rich’s work focuses broadly on how we as a species must simultaneously address the tightly interwoven challenges of growing food demands, food insecurity, and natural ecosystem degradation. He works on the sustainable feeds project and is based at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania. Rich co-supervised with Julia Blanchard.
David is an experienced research technician working on the BBSRC Bacterial diseases project, jointly supervised with Jurriaan Ton.
Sowdamini Sesha Prasad
Sowdamini works on the sustainable feeds project and is based at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania. Sowdamini is co-supervised with Julia Blanchard and Chris Carter.
Sowdamini is funded by The Australian Research Council and UTas
Seb researches the “strangest plant in the world”, the parasitic plant Hydnora triceps. He is interested in the phylogenetics of the Hydnora genus as well as the molecular and physiological mechanisms that allow the parasite to colonise its host. One of Seb’s central hypotheses is that innovation in the molecular basis of the symbiosis could underlie cryptic speciation in the genus. Seb is co supervised by Olwen Grace (RBG Kew), Chris Thorogood (University of Oxford Botanical Garden) and Jay Bolin (Catawba College, NC, USA).
Self-funding PhD student
Understanding how the soil microbiome can be used to control greenhouse gas emissions from arable agriculture, jointly supervised with Tim Daniell
Funded by the Government of Bangladesh
Genetic control of biological nitrification inhibition, jointly supervised with Tim Daniell
Funded by The University of Sheffield
Former group members
Hayden Hodges (PhD student 2017-2021 [Submitted])
Amal Ashour (Part-time PhD student 2014-2021 [Submitted])
Dr Emilio Garcia (PhD student 2016-20)
Dr Ruth Wade (PDRA 2016-17)
Dr Mark Burrell (RA 2015-17)
Dr Theo Kempapidis (PhD student 2015-19)
Dr Niall Bradshaw (PhD student 2015-19)
Dr Megan Sørensen (PhD student 2015-19)
Dr Ewan Minter (PDRA 2014-17)
Dr Andy Dean (PDRA 2014-16)
Dr Nichola Austen (PhD Student 2014-17; Research Technician 2017-18; PDRA 2018-19)
Ewan Marshall-Harries (Research Technician 2014-16)
Dr Ingrid Robertson (PhD student 2013-16)
Dr Alex Perez de Luque (Marie Curie Fellow 2013-15)
Dr Will Summers (Research Technician 2013-14)
Dr Isobel Eyres (PDRA 2012-15)
Dr Despina Berdeni (PhD student 2012-16; PDRA 2016-18)
Dr Steve Muddimer (PhD student 2012-16)
Dr Tom Thirkell (PhD student 2012-16)
Dr Andy McNally (PhD student 2012-16)
Dr Chris Hepworth (PhD student 2012-15)
Dr Kate Allinson (Research Technician 2012-14)
Dr Tom Young (PhD student 2011-2015)
Dr Ludovic Duvaux (PDRA 2012-14)
Dr David Hopkins (PhD student 2011-2015)
Dr Tom Harcourt (PhD student 2011-2015)
Dr Alexandra Lee (Research Technician 2011)
Dr Steffi Tille (Research Technician 2010-2013; PhD Student 2013-2016; PDRA 2016-19)
Dr Bleddyn Hughes (RA 2010-14)
Dr Sameera Alghamdi (PhD student 2010-2015 [part-time])
Dr Nicola Collins (PhD student 2010-14)
Prof Katie Field (PDRA 2009-15)
Natasha Rossel (Research Technician 2010-11)
Dr Richard Waterman (PDRA 2010-12)
Dr Abdulaziz Abualgaith (PhD student 2009-12)
Dr Oliver Kent (PhD student 2008-12)
Dr James Fisher (PhD student 2008-12)