About Matthew

Matthew Wallenstein is a soil microbial ecologist who studies how microbes drive nutrient cycling, soil formation and decomposition, and affect crop health and productivity. His group has elucidated novel mechanisms by which plants control the assembly of the microbiome in their rooting zone, and has shown how this affects plant fitness. He has applied his expertise in plant-microbe interactions to develop and commercialize microbial biostimulants that increase nutrient availability. Wallenstein is an associate professor in the department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability and a joint associate professor in the department of Soil and Crop Sciences. He is the founding director of the Innovation Center for Sustainable Agriculture, the current president of the Soil Ecology Society, and the Chairman of Growcentia, Inc. He also a receipient of a prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER award

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  • Microbes are the unseen majority, inhabiting ecosystems as varied as the subsurface of the earth, soils, lakes, and even the human body. We examine how the responses of microbial communities to environmental change affect ecosystem functioning, the sustainability of agriculture and our natural resources, and ultimately human health. We study how microbial communities adapt to new conditions, and whether different microbial communities may function in different ways. We examine the role of microbial community structure in ecosystem processes using a variety of molecular, microbiological and biogeochemical techniques. Our aim is to advance our fundamental understanding of the ecology of microbes and apply that understanding to predict and mitigate climate change feedbacks, and to develop approaches to improve food security, environmental restoration, and human health.


PhD, Ecology - Duke University
Durham, NC, 2004

Awards, Honors, Grants

  • CSU Ventures Innovation Excellence Award, 2017
  • NSF Bread Challenge Winner, 2013
  • CSU Jack Cermak Advising Award, 2013
  • NSF CAREER Award, 2013


  • American Geophysical Union
  • Ecological Society of America

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