Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from PlumX
1983 …2024

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Personal profile

Our team’s research in the plant sciences is broadly based but focuses on chemical ecology and physiology with an emphasis on the generation of a deeper understanding of the plant rhizosphere and its associated microbiome, and how plant interactions with weeds, herbivores, and pests as well as biocontrol organisms are mediated by secondary products.

My own research interests have focused on development of a fundamental understanding of the localization, biosynthesis, and regulation of secondary plant products including those in root exudates as sources of novel chemistry. Recently, we have applied new and innovative analytical approaches to the study of metabolomics in numerous organisms using both chemometric and bioinformatics approaches to investigate complex metadata sets to better understand plant and microbial interactions. Key biosynthetic pathways involved in plant defense and microbial toxicity have been recently characterized and the genes regulating these pathways identified to evaluate factors regulating expression. Microbial transformation of rhizosphere allelochemicals has been characterized using cutting-edge techniques in soil extraction and mass spectrometry allowing us to predict soil persistence and study allelopathic interference in situ.

Currently, I lead or serve as PI on numerous large multidisciplinary research projects focused on prevention of herbicide resistance in common pasture and crop weeds, and development of alternative management strategies for weeds and livestock pests, including the use of weed suppressive or competitive cereal and pasture crops in broadacre and pasture production systems. We also employ biocontrol agents such as dung beetles, crown weevils and flea beetles to manage crop and livestock pests. The exploration of chemical and microbial diversity within the plant rhizosphere and evaluation of the role of bioactive molecules in plant defense and chemical signaling has led to the adoption of effective and environmentally sustainable weed management systems for crops, roadsides and landscapes, and the development of bioherbicides and microbial metabolites of commercial interest in both the USA and Australia. These initiatives have led to numerous research awards and fellowship appointments including both the Molisch and Grodzinsky award for outstanding lifetime research achievement in 2005 and outstanding publication award in 2017, the NSW OMSR Life Sciences Research Fellowship Award 2008-2012, the ASHS Recognition for Outstanding Educational Leadership, the University of Kentucky Award for Outstanding Young Agricultural Researcher, and recent nomination for Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.

In 2021, CSU was a successful research partner in the industry and federally funded $270M Cooperative Research Centre on Marine Bioproducts. CSU and our research team will be instrumental in conducting fundamental research in natural products leading to the development of industries focused on marine-based bioproducts for livestock and human health, agrichemicals, cosmeceutics, pharmaceutics, nutriceutics and high value fine chemicals.

Research Interests

  • Activity and mode of action of natural plant products and their analogues as bioherbicides, pesticides, pheromones & signaling compounds, cytotoxins and photosensitizers
  • Biology and genetics of invasive weed species of importance in food, cereal and pasture crops
  • Development of integrated weed management strategies to reduce herbicide resistance in crops and pastures in Australia
  • The role of plant- and microbially-produced metabolites in the rhizosphere in plant growth regulation and pest resistance
  • Use of dung beetles for pest management in grazing livestock in Australia and New Zealand
  • The chemistry of plant toxicity in grazing livestock
  • Weed seed dispersal and carcass contamination in livestock

Personal profile

In May 2023, Leslie was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science. Leslie Weston | Australian Academy of Science

Personal profile

See Google Scholar for additional publications and citations.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

Education/Academic qualification

Horticulture and Natural Products Chemistry, PhD, Michigan State University

Award Date: 01 Jan 1987

Horticulture, MS, Michigan State University

Award Date: 01 Dec 1982

Plant Sciences, BS, Cornell University

Award Date: 05 Jun 1980

External positions

Visiting Scientist, Aix-Marseille University

01 Jun 201615 Jul 2016

Visiting Scientist, Warsaw University of Life Sciences-SGGW

10 Jul 201510 Aug 2015

Subject keywords

  • natural plant products, natural products chemistry, metabolomics, plant biochemistry, physiology, allelopathy, competitive crops, weed science, plant invasion, biocontrol, gene expression, microbial transformation


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