Rubén Rellán Álvarez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular and Structural Biochemistry at North Carolina State University. The laboratory of Rubén is focused on understanding the genetic, evolutionary physiological, and metabolic processes involved in plant adaptation to their local environment. In particular, his lab is interested in adaptation to low temperature and low phosphorus conditions. In STEPS, he will deploy several maize populations in the Tidewater research station to identify genetic variants involved in phosphorus use efficiency and, together with other colleagues, will identify the regulatory networks and physiological processes underlying phosphorus efficiency. Ultimately, his lab and colleagues’ work will help develop crops that can maximize yield with lower phosphorus inputs. This will be a fundamental component of achieving the 25-in-25 goal of STEPS since agricultural inputs are the major component of phosphate inputs into the environment.

Rubén is a first-generation college student that grew up in a small village of Asturias, Spain. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Sciences from the Autonomous University of Madrid, where he also got a Master’s degree in Plant Biotechnology. He then got a Ph.D. in the Aula Dei Experimental Station in Zaragoza, Spain, where he understood the metabolic changes involved in plant adaptation to iron deficiency. After his Ph.D., he did a postdoc in the Department of Plant Biology of the Carnegie Institution at Carnegie. He developed new imaging technologies to study plant root biology and root systems architecture. He then started his laboratory at the National Laboratory of Genomics for Biodiversity in Guanajuato, México, and then moved to North Carolina State University in 2019.