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Maneka Malalgoda Defends Ph.D. Thesis

Maneka Malalgoda successfully defended her Cereal Science Ph.D. thesis, “Pre-harvest Glyphosate Use During Wheat Cultivation: Effects on Wheat Chemistry and Human Gut Microbiota”, October 10, 2018.
Maneka Malalgoda Defends Ph.D. Thesis

Maneka Malalgoda (right) and advisor Dr. Senay Simsek

November 29, 2018

Maneka Malalgoda successfully defended her Cereal Science Ph.D. thesis, “Pre-harvest Glyphosate Use During Wheat Cultivation: Effects on Wheat Chemistry and Human Gut Microbiota”, October 10, 2018. Her advisor is Senay Simsek, Bert L. D'Appolonia Cereal Science and Technology of Wheat Endowed Professor.

The goal of Malalgoda’s research was to understand how the timing of pre-harvest desiccants affects different aspects of wheat chemistry, such as wheat quality and the deposition of starch and proteins. She also studied whether pre-harvest desiccants interact with human gut microbiota.

Malalgoda is from Sri Lanka and earned her undergraduate degree in Medical and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology at the University of Applied Sciences in Vienna, Austria. She completed her M.S. degree in Cereal Science at North Dakota State University in 2016.

Malalgoda participated in Gamma Sigma Delta and Phi Kappa Phi at NDSU, and serves as the 2018-19 Chair of the Student Association of the American Association of Cereal Chemists.

She also received several scholarships and fellowships.

  • Jack F. Carter Graduate Scholastic and Leadership Scholarship. 2018. North Dakota State University.
  • Frank Bain Graduate Student Scholarship. 2017. North Dakota State University.
  • Charles Becker Graduate Student Fellowship. 2016. American Association of Cereal Chemists International.
  • Minnesota Institute of Food Scientists Scholarship. 2016. North Dakota State University.
  • Len Sibbit Scholarship. 2015. North Dakota State University.

In addition, she received numerous awards for her research and presentations at academic meetings.

  • Third place winner: Carbohydrate Division/ Megazyme Award. 2018. American Association of Cereal Chemists International Annual Meeting. London, UK.
  • Distinguished Graduate Student in Agriculture Award. 2018. Gamma Sigma Delta Honor Society. North Dakota State University.
  • Walter Bushuk Graduate Research Award in Cereal Protein Chemistry. 2017. American Association of Cereal Chemists International.
  • Winner of the Student Poster Competition: Plant Science Category. 2016. Agricultural Bioscience International Conference. Fargo, ND.
  • Third place winner: Elsevier Poster Award Competition. 2016. The 13th International Hydrocolloids Conference. University of Guelph, Canada.
  • First place winner: Best Student Research Paper Competition. 2015. American Association of Cereal Chemists International Centennial Meeting. Minneapolis, MN.
  • AACCI travel awards: 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018.

Following her Ph.D. graduation, Malalgoda will begin a post-doctoral position in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota.

Her graduate committee included Simsek, Dr. Frank Manthey, Dr. Joel Ransom, Dr. Kirk Howatt, and Dr. Steven Meinhardt.

Author: Kamie Beeson, 701-231-7123,
Editor: Karen Hertsgaard, 701-231-5384,

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