Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

Neal Stewart

Plant Sciences, UTIA


Dr. Neal Stewart is a professor of plant sciences and holds the Ivan Racheff Chair of Excellence in plant molecular genetics, and is the co-director of the Tennessee Plant Research Center. He is the project lead for switchgrass transformation for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory BioEnergy Science Center. His BS degrees came from NC State in 1984, and after a short stint of public school teaching and a MA in Education from Appalachian State (1988), he returned back to science at Virginia Tech (MS, 1990 and PhD, 1993) with postdoctoral experience at the University of Georgia in Wayne Parrott’s laboratory. After that, Stewart joined the faculty of UNC-Greensboro and was an assistant-, then associate professor from 1995-2002 in biology, after which he assumed the Racheff Chair and at the appointment of professor, and then with tenure in 2006. The Stewart Lab’s research spans plant biotechnology, genomics, and ecology. He has been performing agricultural biotechnology and biotechnology risk assessment research since 1994.  His research has been supported by various granting agencies including the DOE, USDA, NSF, EPA, NASA and various US military agencies with average granting success of over $1.2M (USD) per year. He has participated in various biotechnology ventures in the private sector during much of his science career.

Dr. Stewart teaches graduate level courses in plant genomics and research ethics and an undergraduate course in plant biotechnology and genetics.  He has given scientific and lay-presentations around the US and in 16 countries. Dr. Stewart has authored or co-authored over 200 publications, including 5 books. His work has been cited over 3000 times.  He has editorial duties for 7 journals. During his career he has mentored over 80 graduate student, postdoctoral, and technician trainees.

Dr. Stewart is a member of the Bredesen Center Board of Directors.  He is interested in recruiting ESE graduate students to work in all areas of plant-based bioenergy and bioproducts, especially in biotechnology, genomics and ecology of grasses using interdisciplinary research approaches and novel product outputs.


Stewart, C.N., Jr. 2007.  Biofuels and biocontainment. Nature Biotechnology 25:283-284.

Stewart, C.N., Jr. (Ed.) 2008. Plant Biotechnology and Genetics: Principles, Techniques and Applications, Wiley and Sons, Hoboken, New Jersey, 374 pp.  

Yuan, J.S., K.H. Tiller, H. Al-Ahmad, N.R. Stewart, C.N. Stewart, Jr. 2008. Plants to power: bioenergy to fuel the future. Trends in Plant Science 13: 421-429.Dr. Neal Stewart

Yuan, J.S., S. Himanen, J.K. Holopainen, F. Chen, and C.N. Stewart, Jr.  2009. Smelling climate change: plant volatile organic compounds in changing environments.  Trends in Ecology and Evolution 24: 323-331.

Chen, F., H. Al-Ahmad, B. Joyce, N. Zhao, T. G. Köllner,  J. Degenhardt, C. N. Stewart, Jr. 2009. Within-plant distribution and emission of sesquiterpenes from Copaifera officinalis. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, 47: 1017-1023.

Mann, D.J.G., N. Labbé, R. Sykes, K. Reichel, L. Kline, I.M. Swamidoss, J.N. Burris, M. Davis, C.N. Stewart, Jr. 2009. Rapid assessment of lignin content and structure in switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) grown under different environmental conditions. BioEnergy Research 2: 246-256.

Burris, J.N., D.J.G. Mann, B.L. Joyce, C.N. Stewart, Jr. 2009. An improved tissue culture system for embyrogenic callus production and plant regeneration in switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.). BioEnergy Research 2: 267-274.

Kausch, A.P., J. Hague, M. Oliver, Y. Li. H. Daniell, P. Maschia, L.S. Watrud, and C.N. Stewart, Jr. 2010. Transgenic biofuel feedstocks and strategies for bioconfinement. Biofuels 1:163-176.

Xia L., S.C. Lenaghan, M.  Zhang, Y.Wu, X. Zhao, J. N. Burris, C. N. Stewart, Jr. 2010. Characterization of English ivy (Hedera helix) nanoparticle adhesion force and imaging using atomic force microscopy. Journal of Nanoparticle Research.

Peng, Y., L.L.G. Abercrombie, J.S. Yuan, C.W. Riggins, R.D. Sammons, P.J. Tranel, and C.N. Stewart, Jr. 2010.  Characterization of the horseweed Conyza canadensis transcriptome using GS-FLX 454 pyrosequencing and its application for expression analysis of candidate non-target herbicide-resistance genes. Pest Management Science 66: 1053-1062.

Stewart, C.N., Jr., A. Touraev, V. Citovsky, T. Tzfira., (Eds). 2011. Plant Transformation Technologies. Wiley-Blackwell Scientific Publishing, Ames Iowa.  279 pp.

Contact Information