Successful research programs in academia must demonstrate novel, scholarly activity that provides impact within a discipline or with practitioners; enjoy a consistent history of graduate student training, grant activity, and refereed publications; and be positioned to adapt their program strengths to contemporary emerging issues and technologies. My current academic appointment has provided a broad range in research activity within weed science which has enabled the cultivation of research themes which have proven to be the most productive and rewarding from the standpoint of my personal interests, scholarly output, and impact. Three research areas in my present program that fall within our efforts to create greater sustainability in weed management include: 1) analysis of application factors that optimize the efficient use of foliar active herbicides, 2) characterization of the underlying plant-herbicide interactions that contribute towards the evolution and spread of herbicide-resistant weed species, and 3) evaluation of non-chemical methods that can be used to supplement traditional herbicide-based weed management programs. Arguably, the first research area on herbicide optimization and application technologies has been my strength which has incorporated basic herbicide physiology research methods to provide practical solutions for grower adoption. The latter two research areas have been of greater focus over the last half of my career and will continue to receive greater concentration moving forward.
The weed science faculty and overall agricultural programs at Purdue University have a longstanding reputation for excellence in research and graduate student training. My vision for the weed science position at Purdue includes a robust research program that addresses the needs of clientele, pools together the resources and expertise of fellow faculty, and benefits the science of weed management. Delivering practical solutions to clientele is paramount for a Land Grant institution and should drive scholarly activity. I envision a research program that enhances the education of undergraduate students through work experiences or research projects, creates a productive environment in which graduate students can achieve success, and employs and encourages the professional development of skilled research associates where appropriate. These characteristics will provide the foundation for a productive program that conducts relevant and creative research and is competitive in the acquisition of extramural funding on a local and national level. My focal research would include foliar herbicide optimization, characterization of herbicide-resistant weeds, and non-chemical methods of weed management to supplement herbicide strategies. These research areas would allow for excellent opportunities to bridge the expertise already present at Purdue and build collaborations from within the department, within agronomy, and across universities and industry. Significant strides for improving the efficiency of our current weed management practices and continuing to be stewards of the environment will indeed pay dividends for improving the effectiveness of weed management in corn and soybean, enhance grower profitability, and evolve greater sustainability.