Dr. Westgate’s research program focuses on understanding the physiological basis for the effects of water deficits on the reproductive development in corn and soybean; using molecular approaches to improve the value of soybean seeds; and establishing quantitative relationships between floral development and seed set in corn. He is recognized internationally as an authority on corn and soybean reproductive development.
Dr. Westgate teaches four graduate courses. Agron 516: Crop Physiology. This lecture course explores the physiological and molecular determinates of crop growth, reproductive development, and yield. Agron 616: Advanced Topics in Crop Physiology and Biochemistry. This readings/discussion provides an in-depth treatment of physiological and biochemical processes and their relationships to crop growth and development. Both courses emphasize integration of molecular, whole plant, and canopy approaches for crop improvement. Dr. Westgate also is the Director of Graduate Education for the M.S. in Agronomy Distance program offered by the Agronomy Department. In addition to program management, Dr. Westgate teaches Agron 501: Crop Grown and Development and Agron 599M: Creative Component Seminar. Agron 501 is the introductory course for the MS Agronomy Distance Program. It explores basic physiological processes underlying in crop development and responses to the environment. Agron 599M guides students through the process of selecting a topic for their Creative Component project, identifying a Major Professor and Program of Study Committee, and preparing a draft proposal to pursue. Dr. Westgate also has taught an undergraduate course, Agron 342 World Food Issues.
Dr. Westgate is the current President of the Crop Science Society of America, and has served in numerous leadership and editorial capacities including Editor of Crop Science, the flagship journal of the Society. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy, Fellow of the Crop Science Society of America, and Science Fellow of the Australian National University. He currently represents the Agronomy Department on the ISU Faculty Senate and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Faculty Caucus. From 2009 to 2014, he served as the Director of the Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.