Neal Stewart Nominated for UT Presidentís Discover Award


The Presidentís Awards recognize outstanding contributions of staff and faculty in the areas of the University of Tennesseeís threefold mission to provide education, conduct research, and offer outreach. The Discover Award honors discoveries and applications of knowledge. Four categories are awarded each year: Educate, Discover, Connect, and Support.

Dr. Neal Stewart is a professor of plant sciences and holds the Ivan Racheff Chair of Excellence in plant molecular genetics. Dr. Stewart was nominated for the 2017 Presidentís Discover Award by UTIA Chancellor Tim Cross and Dean for AgResearch Bill Brown. When widespread resistance to Round-Up herbicide became an issue in West Tennessee, Stewart and his team of researchers led the sequencing and assembly of the first weedy plant genome (horseweed). Results from this research were published in Plant Physiology in 2014.

Since joining UTIAís faculty in 2002, Dr. Stewart has authored more than 260 refereed scientific papers, secured more than $25 million in extramural support for his research program, disclosed more than eighty-three inventions to the UT Research Foundation, and seven US patents have been issued in association with his research program. Stewart is also recognized as a leader in research ethics and best practices in research integrity. Because of his expertise in plant biotechnology, synthetic biology, and being versed in biosafety and regulations, he was invited to become a member of the National Academies Genetically Engineered Crops Committee whose report was published in 2016. The report has been discussed widely in policy issues and has led to widespread outreach efforts. Dr. Stewart is described by his colleagues as a big thinker who challenges those around him to think outside the box to solve real-world problems. Congratulations to Dr. Neal Stewart, UTIA nominee for the 2017 Presidentís Discover Award.