Dr. Juan Arbelaez is a plant breeder and geneticist who is passionate about reducing hunger, malnutrition, and poverty around the world. In pursuit of this passion, Juan is focusing on a) developing varieties of spring oat (Avena sativa) and rice (Oryza sativa) with enhanced nutritional quality, b) helping breeders around the world develop and implement cost-effective breeding methods and tools to accelerate breeding for multiple traits including yield and grain quality, and c) developing cover crop oat varieties for the Midwest to help protect life-sustaining natural resources.
Dr. Juan Arbelaez began his career at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Cali, Colombia where he worked on developing novel rice germplasm with introgressions from wild rice species to support the global rice community. Juan then went on to do a Ph.D. and a post-doc in Dr. Susan McCouch’s rice genetics lab at Cornell University where he worked on understanding the genetic bases of tolerance to aluminum and iron toxicity, which are critical abiotic stresses affecting rice production in parts of South America and Africa. Prior to joining the University of Illinois, Juan was a rice breeder at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), headquartered in the Philippines, where he played a critical role in the development and deployment of a global genomic selection strategy to accelerate rice improvement in irrigated environments across Southeast Asia and West Africa.
Dr. Arbelaez-Velez focuses on the genetics and breeding of internationally important crops like rice and oats to diversify the regional agricultural system and to support agricultural productivity in developing nations.
Additional Campus Affiliations
Assistant Professor, Crop Sciences
Cruz, M., Arbelaez, J. D., Loaiza, K., Cuasquer, J., Rosas, J., & Graterol, E. (Accepted/In press). Genetic and phenotypic characterization of rice grain quality traits to define research strategies for improving rice milling, appearance, and cooking qualities in Latin America and the Caribbean. Plant Genome. https://doi.org/10.1002/tpg2.20134
Juma, R. U., Bartholomé, J., Thathapalli Prakash, P., Hussain, W., Platten, J. D., Lopena, V., Verdeprado, H., Murori, R., Ndayiragije, A., Katiyar, S. K., Islam, M. R., Biswas, P. S., Rutkoski, J. E., Arbelaez, J. D., Mbute, F. N., Miano, D. W., & Cobb, J. N. (2021). Identification of an Elite Core Panel as a Key Breeding Resource to Accelerate the Rate of Genetic Improvement for Irrigated Rice. Rice, 14(1), . https://doi.org/10.1186/s12284-021-00533-5
Melandri, G., Sikirou, M., Arbelaez, J. D., Shittu, A., Semwal, V. K., Konaté, K. A., Maji, A. T., Ngaujah, S. A., Akintayo, I., Govindaraj, V., Shi, Y., Agosto-Peréz, F. J., Greenberg, A. J., Atlin, G., Ramaiah, V., & McCouch, S. R. (2021). Multiple Small-Effect Alleles of Indica Origin Enhance High Iron-Associated Stress Tolerance in Rice Under Field Conditions in West Africa. Frontiers in Plant Science, 11, . https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2020.604938
Waheed, R., Ignacio, J. C., Arbelaez, J. D., Juanillas, V. M., Asif, M., Henry, A., Kretzschmar, T., & Arif, M. (2021). Drought Response QTLs in a Super Basmati × Azucena Population by High-density GBS-based SNP Linkage Mapping. Plant Breeding, 140(5), 758-774. https://doi.org/10.1111/pbr.12961
Morales, K. Y., Singh, N., Perez, F. A., Ignacio, J. C., Thapa, R., Arbelaez, J. D., Tabien, R. E., Famoso, A., Wang, D. R., Septiningsih, E. M., Shi, Y., Kretzschmar, T., McCouch, S. R., & Thomson, M. J. (2020). An improved 7K SNP array, the C7AIR, provides a wealth of validated SNP markers for rice breeding and genetics studies. PloS one, 15(5), [e0232479]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0232479