Arizona Company Bolsters Expertise In Soil Health

Soil Expert Recognized for Work in Soil Prowess, Builds Team


“We have spent the last 10 years at Heliae, working on solutions in microalgae, providing food to the bacteria in the soil, stimulating the microbiome. This relentless focus on researching soil microbiology has uniquely positioned Heliae capable of detecting and addressing soil concerns for the next 50 years. A feat only possible through the expertise and dedication of our people.” With that Heliae President and CEO, Eric Lichtenheld announces the promotion of Dr. Chiliang Chen as the Director, Soil Microbiome.

Dr. Chen has been with Heliae since September 2018 and has been a catalyst for significant strategic advancements in Heliae’s technical soil health prowess. His extensive experience in the critical areas of basic and applied soil research includes microbial community profiling, microbial physiology, crop resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses, pesticide management.

“It is widely recognized that soil microbes are drivers for soil health,” said Chen, “My goal is to look at soil from strategically important regions across the world and discover unique ways to preserve microbes, in effect restoring soil health, work that has wide impact on this planet’s future. During my tenure our efforts have produced dramatic breakthroughs and a deep competency in microbe preservation.”

Dr. Chen received his PhD in Plant Health, concentrating on Plant Pathology, minoring in microbiology. He brings over 20 years of experience from  domestic and international universities , including a total of 12 years at Iowa State University, and a two-year span in  the Center for Synthetic Microbiology (SYNMIKRO) in Marburg, Germany. Prior to joining Heliae, he managed the PGPR/Rhizoshere Microbiome at Valent BioSciences, LLC.

Along with the promotion of Dr. Chen, Heliae has added a new member to the team, Jeffery Williams as Soil Microbiologist.