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Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Professor Leslie Weston Professor Leslie Weston

BSc Plant Science (Cornell), MSc Horticulture (Michigan State), PhD Plant Science and Biochemistry (Michigan State)

Professor Weston has served as a research professor for over 25 years at University of Kentucky, Cornell University and now at CSU where her research interests have focused on 1) natural plant and microbially produced products with biological activity as bioherbicides, toxicants or antibiotics including their identification, structural elucidation, biological activity assessment and mode of action and 2) plant and weed biology and genetics, with an emphasis on identification of invasive weed species using morphological and molecular taxonomic approaches, including RAPD, AFLP, ISSR and DNA sequence analysis. We also study weed biology and management, including evolutionary adaptation in new non-native environments. This involves field collection and ecology as well as study of physiology, seed germination and dormancy and secondary plant products. We are particularly interested in novel, non-chemical IWM strategies for weed management and evaluation of competitive crops, crop residues, soil and crop rotations and weed seedbank dynamics to assist in successful control.

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Teaching Interests

  • AGS301 Weed and Pesticide Science - specifically weed science and herbicide mode of action.
  • SCI101 What is Science? - guest lecturer.

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Research Interests

  • Natural Products Chemistry
  • Separation Science and Chromatography
  • Herbicide Discovery
  • Toxicology
  • Metabolomics
  • Microbial Diversity in the Rhizosphere
  • Weed Seedbank Dynamics
  • Population Genetics
  • Invasion Biology
  • Weed Management

Current Research Projects

  • 2008-2012. Development of novel bioherbicides for weed suppression. NSW Office of Science and Medical Research. $400K. Biofirst Life Sciences Research Fellowship. L. A. Weston. Study of herbicidal activity of secondary plant metabolites. Isolation and identification of bioactives. CI.
  • 2010-11, Impact of climate change upon Paterson's curse secondary metabolites and its associated biocontrol agents in Southern Australia. RIRDC. $128K. P.A. Weston, L.A. Weston, P. Sullivan. Secondary metabolite extraction, identification and quantification using mass spectrometry. Co CI.
  • 2009-2012, Improving IWM strategies for new and emerging Weeds; GRDC. UA 00134. $1,500K. C. Preston (UA), L. A. Weston (CSU) and H. Wu (NSW DPI). Weed biology and chemistry of weed suppressive break crops, biology and ecology of new and emerging summer fallow weeds. Co CI.
  • 2013-16, Invasive plant success and multi-trophic level chemical ecology using Paterson's curse as a model. ARC. DP130104346. $351K. L. A. Weston (CSU), G. M. Gurr (CSU) and R. Callaway (U Montana) CIs. Weed biology, ecology and genetics, extraction and metabolic profiling using mass spectrometry.
  • 2014-2016, Photosensitization in sheep grazing Biserrula pelecinus. MLA. B.AHE.0236. $320K. J. Quinn, L. A. Weston and A. Kessell. Bioassay, extraction, identification and metabolic profiling of secondary products in biserrula using mass spectrometry. Co CI.
  • 2013-2018, Combating herbicide resistance in the southern region. UCS 00020. GRDC. $2,650K. L. A. Weston (CSU), Bill Brown (CSU), John Broster (CSU) and C. Preston (UA). Crop and weed ecology, weed competitive cultivars and rotations, weed seedbank dynamics, plant and soil metabolic profiling using mass spectrometry. CI.
  • 2014-2017, Mechanisms of weed suppression by early vigour and other novel wheat genotypes. GRDC UCS 00023. $87K. Leslie A. Weston (CSU) and James Mwendwa (CSU). Metabolite profiling in  plants and soils using mass spectrometry. CI.
  • 2014-2019, Addressing Herbicide Resistance - Options and Non-Chemical Approaches for Mixed Farmers. B.WEE.0146. MLA. $938K. L. A. Weston (CSU), J. Piltz (NSW DPI), D. Falepau (CSU). Pasture crop ecology, weed biology, impacts of weed seed on carcase quality, weed seedbank dynamics and metabolite profiling of crop/soil using mass spectrometry. CI.
  • 2014-2019. IWM strategies for new and emerging weeds in the southern region. UA 00149. $221K. L.A. Weston (CSU) and J. Broster (CSU). Weed ecology, survey and assessment of herbicide resistance. PI.
  • 2015-2019. Herbicide resistant weed surveys across Australia. GRDC UCS 00024. $1.5M. J. Broster (CSU), L. A Weston (CSU) and numerous others.

Research Students

PhD Current
  • Razia Sultana Shaik "Ecology and genetics of three invasive cucurbit weeds in Australia", 2009-2016.
  • KMS Haque "Chemistry and Mn toxicity in post rice flooded soils", 2011-2015. Advisory committee.
    Joseph Moore "Biology and chemistry of endophyte produced alkaloids in Lolium rigidum", 2011-2016. Advisory committee.
  • Dominik Skoneczny "Use of metabolic profiling to study pyrrolizidine alkaloids and naphthoquinones in Echium spp. in Australia and the Iberian Peninsula", 2013-2016.
  • James Mwendwa "Mechanisms of weed suppression in novel wheat genotypes – allelopathy or crop competition?", 2014-2017.
  • Jane Kelly "Impact and management of weed seed infestation in grazing sheep", 2015-2019.
    Sajid Latif "Mode of action of photosensitizers and other bioactives from biotypes of Biserrula pelecinus", 2015-2019.
  • Saiful Jamal "Impact of secondary plant products on tritrophic interactions in Echium. Spp.", 2015-2018. Advisory committee.
Honours Completed
  • Ellie D'Arcy-Moskwa "New methods for measurement of sucrose in equine blood serum as a method of detection and quantification of ulceration". 2012. First class honours.
  • Karen Alpen "Use of DNA barcoding for identification of Conyza spp. in Australia". 2013. First class honours.
  • Georgia Ladmore "Impact of annual legume systems on photosensitization and lamb performance". 2014. 1st class –level 2. Co-supervisor with Jane Quinn.
  • Brigette Ryan "Leaf surface chemistry and trichome morphology in two invasive Echium spp. in Australia". 2014. First class honours.
  • Emily Birkhead "Amaranthus retroflexus toxicity in grazing livestock". 2015. First class honours.
  • Johnny Fang "Use of metabolomics to profile the physiology of pancreatic cancer in adherent cell culture". 2015. First class honours. Co-supervisor with Mike Cahill.

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Professional Activities

Editorial Activity
  • Editorial Board Agronomy, on line journal MDPI (2015- current)
  • Associate Editor for Plant and Soil (2014-current)
  • Editorial Board Journal of Allelochemical Interactions (2014-currrent)
Other Professional Activities
  • GRDC supported member of Grains Weeds Advisory Committee – 2012-current
  • Farmlink Advisory Committee – 2011-2013

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View Prof Weston's publications on CRO.

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