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Professor of Plant Sciences, University of Tennessee

Neal Stewart, a professor of plant sciences, holds the Ivan Racheff Chair of Excellence in plant molecular genetics. He serves as co-director of the Tennessee Plant Research Center. After taking a PhD at Virginia Tech, he joined Wayne Parrott's lab at the University of Georgia as a postdoc from 1993-1995, after which he moved to UNC-Greensboro where he was an assistant-, then associate professor from 1995-2002 in biology. In 2002, Stewart assumed the Racheff Chair with an appointment of professor. The Stewart Lab’s research spans plant biotechnology, synthetic biology, 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 in the DOE, USDA, NSF, NASA and from various other sources, including industry. Of the approximately $25 M awarded over the past 20 years in grants and contracts, nearly 10% has had industry ties.

Dr. Stewart teaches courses in plant genomics and Photo montage of the work in Dr. Stewart's research labbiotechnology and research ethics, and mentored approximately 100 trainees over his career; most of whom are still in science. He has given scientific and lay-presentations around the US and in 16 countries. Dr. Stewart has authored or co-authored over 250 journal articles, many book chapters and seven books. He has editorial duties for the Plant Biotechnology Journal (reviews and associate editor), Plant Cell Reports (reviews), and BMC Biotechnology (section editor) and serves on the editorial board of four additional journals. Dr. Stewart was elected as a AAAS Fellow in 2015 and from 2014-2016 served on the National Academies committee responsible for publishing "Genetically Engineered Crops: Experiences and Prospects" in 2016.

He lives with his wife in semi-rural Knox County, Tennessee. His hobbies include those in the bioenergy (firewood) and transportation (old vehicles) sectors and boating and swimming in the Tennessee River. Neal Stewart is also a singer-songwriter whose songs can be found here:


  • –present
    Professor of Plant Sciences, University of Tennessee