Alvaro Sanz-Saez

Assistant Professor (Crop Physiology)

Crop, Soil & Environmental Sciences

(507) 210-3037 


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253 Funchess Hall
Auburn Univ, AL 36849



  • 2011 Ph.D, Plant Biology, University of Navarra (Spain) (2011)
  • 2007 B.S., Biology, University of Navarra (Spain) (2007)
  • 2007 B.S., Biochemistry, University of Navarra (Spain) (2007)


  • Assistant Professor Auburn University (2018)
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow University of Missouri (2016-2018)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow University of Basque Country (2015)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow University of Illinois (20130-2014)
  • Postdoctoral Contract University of Barcelona (2012)


  • Basque Country Government Postdoctoral Fellowship (2013-2015)
  • VII Scientist Network. Biotechnology of Interactions Between Plants and Microorganism Fellowship (2009)
  • University of Navarra Graduate Student Fellowship (2007-2011)
  • Basque Country Undergraduate Lab Assistant Fellowship (2005-2007)


  • Crop Science Society of America (Member)
  • American Society of Agronomy (Member)
  • Spanish Association of Plant Biology (Member)


I am interested on studying how plants react to abiotic stress, and which strategies they use to thrive in in adverse environmental situations. I focus my research on detecting genotypic variation to abiotic stress such as drought, high temperature and elevated [CO2]. I am also interested on how symbiotic organisms such as bacteria (rhizobium) associate with agronomical crops and how this association can improve the plant response under a stress situation.

As the techniques used to measure plant responses to environmental stress are tedious and difficult to apply in field conditions, I am also interested in the research of new techniques that allow us to measure plant traits in a cheaper and high pace way (high-throughput phenotyping), such as NIRS, thermal cameras, and hyper-spectral cameras and analyzers.



  • Kaler A, Bazzer S, Sanz-Saez A, Ray J, Fritschi F, Purcell L. (Under review) Carbon Isotope Ratio Fractionation Among Plant Tissues of Soybean. The Plant Phenome Journal.
  • Buezo J, Sanz-Saez A, Moran JF, Soba D, Aranjuelo I, Esteban R. (Under review). Drought tolerance response of high yielding soybean varieties with different tolerance to mild drought: physiological and photochemical adjustments. Environmental Experimental Botany.
  • Sanz-Sáez A, Koester RP, Rosenthal DM, Montes CM, Ort DR, Ainsworth EA. (2017). Leaf and canopy scale drivers of genotypic variation in soybean response to elevated carbon dioxide concentration. Global Change Biology. DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13678.
  • Zhou B, Araus JL, Elazab A, Bort J, Serret MD, Aranjuelo I, Sanz-Sáez A (2016b). Wheat ear carbon assimilation and nitrogen remobilization contribute significantly to grain yield. Journal of Integrative Plant Biology, 58(11): 914-926.
  • Zhou B, Elazab A, Bort J, Sanz-Sáez A, Nieto-Taladrizc MT, Serret MD, Araus JL. (2016a) Agronomic and physiological responses of Chinese facultative wheat genotypes to high-yielding Mediterranean conditions. Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 154: 870-889.
  • Sanz-Sáez A, Burke PV, Heath KD, Ainsworth EA. (2015) Inoculation with an enhanced N2-fixing Bradyrhizobium japonicumstrain (USDA110) does not alter soybean (Glycine max Merr.) response to elevated [CO2]. Plant, Cell, and Environment, 38: 2589-2602.
  • Aranjuelo I, Erice G, Sanz-Saez A, Abadie C, Gilard F, Gil-Quintana E, Avice JC, Staudinger C, Wienkoop S, Araus, JL, Jacques B, Irigoyen JJ; Tcherkez G. (2015) Differential CO2 effect on primary carbon metabolism of flag leaves in durum wheat (Triticum durum Desf.). Plant, Cell, and Environment, 38: 2780-2794
  • Salazar-Parra C, Aranjuelo I, Pascual I, Erice G, Sanz-Sáez A, Aguirreolea J, Sánchez-Díaz M, Irigoyen JJ, Araus JL, Morales F. (2015) Carbon balance, partitioning and photosynthetic acclimation in fruit-bearing grapevine (Vitis vinifera L. cv. Tempranillo) grown under simulated climate change (elevated CO2, elevated temperature and moderate drought) scenarios in temperature gradient greenhouses. Journal Plant Physiology, 174: 97-109.
  • Erice G, Sanz-Saez A, Aroca R, Ruiz-Lozano JM, Avice JC, Irigoyen JJ, Sánchez-Díaz M., Aranjuelo I. (2014b) Photosynthetic down-regulation in N2-fixing alfalfa under elevated CO2 alters rubisco content and decreases nodule metabolism via nitrogenase and tricarboxylic acid cycle. Acta Physiologiae Plantarum, 36: 2607-2617.
  • Erice G, Sanz-Sáez A, Urdiain A, Araus JL, Irigoyen JJ, Aranjuelo I. (2014a) Harvest index combined with impaired N availability constrains the responsiveness of durum wheat to elevated CO2 concentration and terminal water stress. Functional Plant Biology, 41: 1138-1147.
  • Zhou B, Sanz-Sáez A, Elazab A, Shen T, Sánchez-Bragado R, Bort J, Serret MD, Araus JL. (2014) Physiological traits contributed to the recent increase in yield potential of winter wheat from Henan province, China. Journal of Integrative Plant Biology, 56: 492-504.
  • Aranjuelo I, Sanz-Sáez A, Jauregui I, Irigoyen JJ, Araus JL, Sánchez-Díaz M, Erice G. (2013) Harvest index, a parameter conditioning responsiveness of wheat plants to elevated CO2. Journal of Experimental Botany, 64: 1879-92.
  • Sanz-Sáez A, Erice G, Aranjuelo I, Aroca R, Ruiz-Lozano JM, Aguirreolea J, Irigoyen JJ, Sánchez-Díaz M. (2013) Photosynthetic and molecular markers of CO2-mediated photosynthetic down-regulation in nodulated alfalfa. Journal of Integrative Plant Biology, 55: 721-734.
  • Sanz-Sáez A, Erice G, Aguirreolea J, Muñoz F, Sánchez-Díaz M, Irigoyen JJ. (2012b) Alfalfa forage digestibility, quality and yield under future climate change scenarios vary with Sinorhizobium meliloti strain. Journal of Plant Physiology, 169: 782-788.
  • Sanz-Sáez A, Erice G, Aguirreolea J, Irigoyen JJ, Sánchez-Díaz M. (2012a) Alfalfa yield under elevated CO2 and temperature depends on the Sinorhizobium strain and growth season. Environmental and Experimental Botany, 77: 267-273.
  • Erice G, Sanz-Sáez A, Aranjuelo I, Irigoyen JJ, Aguirreolea J, Avice JC, Sánchez-Díaz. (2011) Photosynthesis, N2 fixation and taproot reserves during the cutting regrowth cycle of alfalfa under elevated CO2 and temperature. Journal of Plant Physiology, 168: 2007-2014.
  • Sanz-Sáez A, Erice G, Aranjuelo I, Irigoyen JJ, Sánchez-Díaz M. (2010) Photosynthetic down-regulation under elevated CO2 exposure can be prevented by nitrogen supply in nodulated alfalfa. Journal of Plant Physiology, 167: 1558-1565.