Stephen C. Grace - Associate Professor of Biology, AR P3 Center Campus Lead - University of Arkansas at Little Rock

grace profile
Phone: 501-569-3337 (Office)
Address: Biology Department University of Arkansas at Little Rock 2801 South University Ave. Little Rock, Arkansas 72204


Campus champion for the Plant Imaging Consortium

 Cluster Identification:
- Comparative Metabolomics, Genomics, and Metabolic Engineering Cluster

Research Areas/Expertise:
- Abiotic Stress
- Antioxidants
- Bioengineering
- Bioinformatics
- Gene Regulation & Signal Transduction
- Plant Secondary Metabolism/Metabolomics/Metabolic Engineering
- Photosynthesis
- Phytochemicals & Human Health
- Plant Environmental Physiology
- Transcriptomics

Abiotic Stress
Gene Regulation & Signal Transduction
Plant Secondary Metabolism/Metabolomics/Metabolic Engineering
Phytochemicals & Human Health
Plant Environmental Physiology


Research Summary | Selected Publications | Lab Members | Key Collaborators | Research Projects | Links

Research Summary:

We are interested in understanding how environmental and genetic factors regulate plant metabolism.  Plants produce an amazing diversity of small molecules, most of which are derived from “secondary” metabolic pathways and have unknown functions.  However, secondary metabolites are thought to play vital roles in the defensive arsenals of plants and many have nutritional and pharmacological properties and therefore can impact human health.  Yet, very little is known about the mechanisms involved in the biosynthesis of almost all plant natural products.

Research in my lab is focused on understanding how light intensity regulates the production of valuable chemicals and materials in plants, with special emphasis on metabolites derived from the phenylpropanoid pathway and their physiological functions.  This branch of plant metabolism is responsible for the production of a large group of phytochemicals known as polyphenols, which include flavonoids, anthocyanins, tannins, hydroxycinnamic acids, and the structural polymer lignin.  These compounds serve as defense agents against a wide range of biotic and abiotic stresses in plants and many of them have valuable nutraceutical properties as health-promoting antioxidants.  We are especially interested in how photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert sunlight into food, fuel, fiber, and phytochemicals, is linked to downstream metabolic processes such as phenylpropanoid metabolism.  Our long-term goal is to use this knowledge to aid the development of more stress-tolerant crops with increased antioxidant capacity through targeted manipulation of phenylpropanoid metabolism.

Selected Publications:

  • Embry C.S., Ramaker R.R., Grace S.C.  (2012) NeedleFinder: a data analysis tool for LCMS-based metabolomics.  Metabolomics  (submission planned for 2012).
  • Grace S.C.  Metabolomics of light acclimation. a case study with tomato.  (2012) Planta (submission planned for 2012.)
  • Belefant-Miller H., Grace S.C.  (2010) Variation in bran carotenoid levels within and between rice sub-groups. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition 65: 358-363.
  • Grace S.C. (2005) Phenolics as antioxidants. in Antioxidants and Reactive Oxygen Species in Plants. (N.Smirnoff, ed.) Blackwell Scientific Publishers, Oxford, UK  pp. 141-168.
  • Grace S.C. (2003) Plant Bioenergetics. In: Nature Encyclopedia of Life Sciences London: Nature Publishing Group.   [doi:10.1038/npg.els.0001461]
  • Sakihama Y., Cohen M.F., Grace S.C. and Yamasaki H.  (2002) Plant phenolic antioxidant and prooxidant activities: phenolics-induced oxidative damage mediated by metals in plants.  Toxicology 177:67-80.
  • Grace S.C. and Logan B.A.  (2000)  Energy dissipation and radical scavenging by the plant phenylpropanoid pathway.  Proceedings of the Royal Society Ser. B  355: 1499-1510.

Lab Members:

Stephen C. Grace, Associate Professor of Biology

Chen Chen
Department Affiliation: Biology
Status: Graduate student (Masters)

Ryne Ramaker
Department Affiliation: Biology
Status: Undergraduate student

James Emmet
Department Affiliation: Biology
Status: Undergraduate student

Key Collaborators

Research Projects

None listed at this time.