Dr Mike Haydon



2013-  Lecturer  Department of Biology, University of York  
2010-2013   Post-doctoral Research Associate  Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge  
2007-2010  Post-doctoral Scientist / Marie Curie Incoming International Fellow Heidelberg Institute for Plant Sciences, University of Heidelberg
2003-2007   PhD Department of Genetics, The University of Melbourne  
1997-2002 BSc (Hons) Department of Genetics, The University of Melbourne  




Plants must sense and adapt to environmental changes to grow efficiently and respond to stress. These adaptations can occur over timescales ranging from minutes to generations. Research in the lab aims to understand the cellular and molecular bases for how plants sense environmental signals to adapt their physiology and development. For example, our recent research revealed a role for light-dependent production of sugars (i.e photosynthesis) in adapting internal molecular rhythms in Arabidopsis to daily changes in environment (Haydon et al., Nature 2013). Ongoing research in the lab is investigating how plants sense changes in internal sugar levels and how this information is integrated into classical modes of light sensing through photoreceptors.

A second aspect of research in the lab aims to understand the role of the plant cell wall in sensing and responding to environmental signals. The plant cell wall is a complex and dynamic structure, which forms a barrier between the cellular and external environment. It provides strength to otherwise formless plant cells, but must be highly plastic to allow physiological and developmental adaptations. We aim to identify cell wall components that sense the external environment and elucidate the cellular pathways that drive dynamic modifications of plant cell walls.


Two references

  • Haydon MJ, Mielczarek O, Robertson FC, Hubbard KE, Webb AAR (2013) Photosynthetic entrainment of the Arabidopsis thaliana circadian clock. Nature 502: 689-692.
  • Haydon MJ, Kawachi M, Wirtz M, Hillmer S, Hell R, Krämer U (2012) Vacuolar nicotianamine has critical and distinct roles under iron deficiency and for zinc sequestration in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 24: 724-737.

The circadian clock allows organisms to adapt to daily and seasonal changes in environment. Recently, my research has demonstrated a role for sugars produced from photosynthesis in adaptation of plants to light-dark rhythms by acting as an entrainment signal for the circadian clock.

Current projects

Light-independent sugar signalling in Arabidopsis: BBSRC

Research group(s)

Research Associate Dr Ángela Román-Fernandez Light-independent sugar signalling in Arabidopsis
Research Technician Waheed Arshad Light-independent sugar signalling in Arabidopsis

Available PhD research projects

DEZ-dependent pathways of cell wall signalling in photomorphogenesis (2015-16)

Cell wall signalling is an emerging field in plant sciences (Wolf et al., Ann Rev Plant Biol 2012 63, 381). It is becoming clear that there are cell wall-mediated processes that are involved in plant-environment interactions such as pathogen defense, wounding responses and drought tolerance. Several cell wall-associated kinases have been described, but there are wide-ranging questions about these and other cell wall signalling pathways. More generally, these processes contribute to the wider field of cell wall biology, which is central to research for improved biofuel production. This project aims to characterise an entirely undescribed phenomenon: light signalling pathways activated from the cell wall. Understanding the physiological and evolutionary importance of these pathways will contribute to fundamental questions about plant-environment interactions.

Co directors - Simon McQueen-Mason

Haydon Mike

Contact details

Dr Mike Haydon
Department of Biology
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: 01904 328803