Marcel van der Heijden, PhD

Biography & Research Summary

Marcel van der Heijden (48) heads the Plant-Soil Interactions Group at the Swiss Federal Research Institute Agroscope (Zurich, Switzerland), is professor for Agro-ecology and Plant-Microbiome Interactions at the University of Zurich (Switzerland) and he is an honorary professor in Mycorrhizal Ecology at Utrecht University (the Netherlands). He obtained his PhD in 1999 at the Botanical Institute of Basel University, Switzerland, studying the impact plant root symbiont  (arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi) diversity on plant diversity, nutrient cycling and ecosystem functioning.

His research group performs a mix of basic and applied research, specifically investigating how soil microbial diversity and root microbiome complexity influence plant growth and ecosystem functioning. He is also interested to enhance the sustainability of agro-ecosystems using soil ecological engineering, field inoculation with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and plant microbiome management.

He published over 100 scientific papers, including several highly cited papers in Nature, PNAS, Ecology Letters and the New Phytologist. He published over 25 applied papers for environmental engineers, farmers and policy makers aiming to enhance awareness of the importance of underground mutualisms, and soil biodiversity as a resource for agricultural production and environmental sustainability.

He is a multidisciplinary researcher active in disciplines such as mycorrhizal ecology, microbial ecology, plant microbiome research, biodiversity, agriculture, plant sciences, plant nutrition, soil sciences, sustainability and environmental protection.

Agroscope , Reckenholzstrasse 191, CH-8046 Zürich, Switzerland   Tel. ++41 (0)58 468 72 78