Perspectives Online

Leath named to head Agricultural Research Service


Steven Leath

Dr. Steven Leath, a plant pathologist who has a 20-year affiliation with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State University, has been named associate dean and director of the North Carolina Agricultural Research Service within the College.

The research service is the research arm of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Leath has served as interim director since May 2003, when Dr. Johnny Wynne, then the director, was named interim dean of the college. Wynne was named dean of the college last December. As research service director, Leath also holds the title of associate dean of the College.

Leath, a Fuquay-Varina resident, joined the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences faculty in 1985 as a plant pathologist with a U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service unit on the N.C. State campus. He became research leader of the unit in 1999 and later served for a brief period as USDA Agricultural Research Service acting national program leader for grain crops, stationed in Beltsville, Md. He returned to N.C. State in 2001, serving as assistant director of the N.C. Agricultural Research Service.

In 2003, Leath was named associate director of the N.C. Agricultural Research Service, then interim director when Wynne became the College's interim dean.

Leath holds a bachelor's degree in plant science from Pennsylvania State University, a master's in plant science from the University of Delaware and a doctorate in plant pathology from the University of Illinois. Prior to joining the Agricultural Research Service at N.C. State, he was an associate extension plant pathologist for a year at the University of Illinois, Urbana.

The N.C. Agricultural Research Service has an annual budget of approximately $52 million, with an additional $50 million of expenditures in extramural grants and contracts. Approximately 350 research faculty fall under research service administration, along with 270 graduate students, other researchers and research assistants, 400 technicians and 90 support staff.

-- Dave Caldwell