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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

ARS 50th Anniversary Celebration

Logo Image for "A R S : The Future Grows Here"Agricultural Research Service
50th Anniversary

National Scientific Leadership Meeting and
Annual Recognition Program

Proud Past and Promising Future
January 21-23, 2004
New Orleans, Louisiana

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  Steven O. Duke

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Steven DukeBorn in Michigan, and raised in Arkansas, Steve received his Ph.D. from Duke University in Plant Physiology and Biochemistry   He spent 21 years in weed management-oriented research at Stoneville, Mississippi with ARS, where he served as Research Leader of the Southern Weed Science Laboratory during his last nine years there.  Currently, he is Research Leader of the Natural Product Utilization Research Unit located at the National Center for Natural Products Research on the campus of the University of Mississippi in Oxford.

While his earlier research focused on weed physiology and herbicides, his recent activities have expanded to include all chemicals associated with pest management, with emphasis on naturally-occurring compounds.

His research teams have discovered the molecular target sites of several natural and synthetic phytotoxins and herbicides.  An example of this work is his laboratory's research that led the way in determining the mode of action of protoporphyrinogen oxidase-inhibiting herbicides.  Steve found the unique and complicated mechanism by which this category of herbicides cause the toxic product of the inhibited enzyme to accumulate.  With computational chemistry, these herbicides were shown to be structural analogues of one half of the protoporphyrinogen IX molecule.  This work has led to a better understanding of the porphyrin pathway.  His research is documented in more than 250 peer-reviewed publications and six co-written and edited books.

Current activities include development of gene expression profiling of natural fungicides and herbicides as a tool in determining and probing modes of action.  Also, examination of the molecular biology of crop allelopathy is underway with the goal to ultimately produce crops that will fight weeds with natural phytotoxins.

Steve has been very active in professional organizations, editorial boards of journals, and grant review panels.  He was President of the Weed Science Society of America and is now President of the International Weed Science Society.  He is a fellow of AAAS and the Weed Sci. Soc. Amer., winner of the Molisch Award (International Allelopathy Society), and recipient of an Outstanding Senior Scientist Award of ARS.  He played a key role when ARS established its Office of Scientific Quality Review (OSQR) in 1999, being instrumental in developing OSQR policies and procedures and serving as the first Scientific Quality Review Officer.

Some side information -  Steve's graduate training was interrupted by two years in the U.S. Army, one of which was spent as a Medical Service Corps officer in Vietnam. He has a twin brother, Dr. Stanley H. Duke, who is Professor and Chair of the Department of Agronomy at the University of Wisconsin.

 

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Last Modified: 11/4/2014
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