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Rubén Rellán Álvarez

Assistant Professor

148 Polk Hall


Research Program Overview

Our research focuses on deciphering the genetic and physiological mechanisms underlying metabolism reorganization in plants during adaptation to abiotic stresses including suboptimal temperatures and nutrient concentrations. We use a combination of quantitative and population genetics together with high precision metabolic phenotyping to identify loci that have been under selection during adaptation to particular environments and that are involved in the determination of metabolic traits. We then use reverse genetics, heterologous expression to functionally characterize the allelic effects of candidate genes. In particular we are using maize glycerolipid remodelling during the process of maize adaptation to different highland environments across the Americas as our study system.  Using the approaches above together with maize landrace mapping populations grown in highland and lowland common garden fields in México, we have identified loci that explain distinct glycerolipid patterns in highland maize. We are currently functionally characterizing these loci with the goal of understanding their contribution to maize adaptation to highland conditions and transferring beneficial alleles to modern maize varieties.


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B.S., Environmental Sciences, Autonomous University of Madrid (2002)
M.S., Autonomous University of Madrid (2005)
Ph.D., Aula Dei Experimental Station (2011)
Post-doctoral, Plant Sciences, Carnegie Institution for Science (Stanford) (2015)