Plant Sciences


| Share

Mihiri Mendis Defends Ph.D. Thesis

Mihiri Marini Judith Mendis defended her Cereal Science Ph.D. dissertation, "Arabinoxylan Hydrolyzates as Prebiotics and Immunomodulators" on Monday, December 1, 2014 in Harris Hall at North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND.
Mihiri Mendis Defends Ph.D. Thesis

Mihiri Mendis (left) with adviser Dr. Senay Simsek

Mihiri Marini Judith Mendis defended her Cereal Science Ph.D. research on December 1, 2014. Her thesis is titled Arabinoxylan hydrolyzates as Prebiotics and Immunomodulators. Her research involved extracting and purifying a fiber called arabinoxylans from wheat bran and testing it for possible health benefits.

After receiving a B.S. in Pharmacy and interning with that program, Mendis joined Dr. Senay Simsek’s Cereal Science group and has received many honors and awards including: American Association of Cereal Chemists International (AACCI) Best Student Research Paper Competition winner (2014), AACCI Raymond J. Tarleton Graduate Fellowship (2013), Frank Bain Scholarship (2013), AACCI Best Student Research Paper Competition finalist (2012), AACCI student travel award (2011, '12, '13), and North Dakota Specialty Milling Inc. Scholarship (2011, '12).

Mendis is also the student representative for AACCI’s Northwest Section (2012-present) and a member of Gamma Sigma Delta (2013-present). She is originally from Sri Lanka.

Mendis believes that the Cereal Science program facilities and labs add to the value of the well devised graduate program at NDSU. She feels the faculty and atmosphere empower students with the knowledge and training they need to take on real life jobs. She explains, “The lecturers are competent and the graduate curriculum is well designed to cover many aspects of Cereal Science.”

She will continue researching in industry or academia in the future.

Mendis’s graduate committee consisted of Dr. Estelle Leclerc, Dr. Paul Schwarz, Dr. Jae Ohm, and Dr. Sheela Ramamoorthy. Her adviser was Dr. Senay Simsek.

Source: Mihiri Mendis (contact Dr. Senay Simsek, 701-231-7737,
Author: Shannon Ueker, 701-231-7971,
Editor: Karen Hertsgaard, 701-231-5384,

Creative Commons License
Feel free to use and share this content, but please do so under the conditions of our Creative Commons license and our Rules for Use. Thanks.