Leslie Weston

Professor Leslie Weston

Gulbali Research Professor of Plant Biology and Natural Products Chemistry


Gulbali Institute


Prof. Weston’s research 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.

Research interests have included 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, metabolomics and genomics approaches have been undertaken to investigate complex biosynthetic pathways impacting plant defense and microbial interactions.

Applied research has focused on large multidisciplinary research projects for 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 biocontrol agents such as dung beetles, crown weevils and flea beetles. Prof Weston also explores soil health and microbial diversity within the plant rhizosphere and the role of bioactive molecules in plant defense and weed suppression.

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

  • Plant/plant interactions
  • Plant/microbial interactions
  • Plant/livestock interactions
  • Plant/insect interactions
  • Soil ecology and health
  • Weed science and plant invasion
  • Plant competition and allelopathic interference
  • Plant physiology
  • Metabolomics
  • Natural products chemistry
  • Discovery of agrichemicals
  • Gene expression and biosynthetic pathways analysis
  • Plant and microbial systematics and taxonomy
  • Chemical fingerprinting or metabolic profiling
Full publications list on CRO

Recent five publications

  • Wyse, J., Nevard, R., Loy, J., Weston, P. A., Gurusinghe, S., McCormick, J.,Weston, L. A., & Stephen, C. (2024). Effects of Mixed Pasture Legume Phytoestrogens on Superovulatory Response and Embryo Quality in Angus Cows. Animals14(7), Article 1125. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14071125
  • Haque, S., Gurusinghe, S., & Weston, L. A. (2023). Beneficial soil microbes may alter nutrient dynamics in Chromosols and Vertosols when biochar is used. In 2023 Soil Science Australia Conference Darwin, 25-30 June 2023 (pp. 61) http://chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/https://conference.soilscienceaustralia.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/2023-SSA-Oral-Abstract-Book.pdf
  • Perera, N. N., Barrow, R. A., Weston, P. A., Rolland, V., Hands, P., Gurusinghe, S., Weston, L. A., & Gurr, G. M. (2023). Characterisation of Antennal Sensilla and Electroantennography Responses of the Dung Beetles Bubas bison, Onitis aygulus and Geotrupes spiniger (Coleoptera: Scarabaeoidea) to Dung Volatile Organic Compounds. Insects14(7), Article 627. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14070627
  • Ma, L., Weeraratne, K. N., Gurusinghe, S., Aktar, J., Haque, K. M. S., Eberbach, P., Gurr, G. G., & Weston, L. A. (2023). Dung beetle activity Is soil-type-dependent and modulates pasture growth and associated soil microbiome. Agronomy, 13(2), [325]. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13020325
  • Nordblom, T., Gurusinghe, S., Erbacher, A., & Weston, L. A. (2023). Opportunities and challenges for cover cropping in sustainable agriculture systems in Southern Australia. Agriculture (Switzerland), 13(3), [688]. https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13030688