Roland Wilhelm

Role in Phytobiomes Alliance

Controlled Environment Working Group, Coordinating Committee, Sponsor Representative


Purdue University – College of Agriculture


Assistant Professor, Soil and rhizosphere microbiology

Research Interests

I lead the Managed Ecosystems Microbial Ecology lab in the Agronomy Department at Purdue University. My team and I strive to improve our understanding of the role of individual and whole communities of microbes in managed ecosystems. Our goal is to apply this understanding to improve the productivity and sustainability of crop cultivation systems. Our topics of interest include studying:

  1. The ecological factors governing the establishment of endophyte and surface biofilms on plant tissues.
  2. Seeding and sustaining defined plant-associated microbiomes to support plant performance through environmental engineering and biotechnology.
  3. Development of bioinformatic tools and data standards to support the scaling of microbiome research.

Current Phytobiomes-related Projects

  1. Supporting the development of foundational surveys and methods for studying the microbiome of controlled environment agriculture.
  2. Developing a model plant-soil system for assessing genetic biocontainment (microbial ‘kill switches’).