Dr Sylvia Duncan

Dr Sylvia Duncan
Dr Sylvia Duncan
Dr Sylvia Duncan


Senior Research Fellow

Email Address
Telephone Number
+44 (0)1224 438680
Office Address

Rowett Institute

Forresterhill Campus


AB25 2ZD


School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition

Research Overview

The Microbiology group have isolated and characterised many of the most abundant bacterial species that inhabit the human large intestine. A panel of the most interesting strains have also been genome sequenced. Mining these genomes has led to a good understanding of the roles of these mostly anaerobic bacteria in the human colon including their primary metabolic function, such as the formation of short chain fatty acids.

Research team:

Amanda Morris – Research Assistant

Galiana Lo - PhD student

Dr Indrani Mukhopadhya – Research Fellow



Research Areas

Nutrition and Health

Research Specialisms

  • Microbiology

Our research specialisms are based on the Higher Education Classification of Subjects (HECoS) which is HESA open data, published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.

Current Research

My current research is focussed on the impact of dietary macronutrients, including protein and carbohydrate content, on modulating the composition of the gut microbiota and metabolic outputs to improve health and prevent disease. The impact of gut environmental factors, including pH and bile salt levels, on modulating the gut microbiota and metabolism are also being studied using in vitro model colonic fermentor systems. We are also interested in bacterial cross feeding of dietary macronutrients by specialist bacterial species. We are also interested lactic acid utilising bacterial species as this is a product that is usually low in healthy colons but can accumulate to high levels in disease states such as inflammatory bowel disease. Further studies are also underway on host-microbe interactions.

More recently, the formation of secondary metabolites, such as polyketides and non-ribosomally synthesised peptides, by gut anaerobes are being studied through genome mining strains, testing their ability to inhibit pathogens and identifying the structure of these peptides as these are potentially pharmaceutically important compounds that may possess anti-microbial and anti-cancer properties.


Teaching Responsibilities

Course Coordinator MC4014

Contribute lectures and tutorials to Nutrition courses


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