As a passionate scientist whose research is transforming healthcare, Dil Thavarajah is working to connect human health and global food systems. Thavarajah is currently an Associate Professor of Pulse Quality and Nutrition for the College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Life Sciences at Clemson University. She also holds the title of School of Health Faculty Research Scholar. Upon receiving her BSc in Soil Science from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka in 1996, Thavarajah went on to obtain her MSc in Soil Science in 2002 and her PhD in Plant Physiology in 2006 from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada.
Prior to coming to Clemson in 2014, Thavarajah established lentil selenium biofortification research using synchrotron techniques as a postdoctoral fellow, initiated the Canadian lentil bio-fortification program at the Crop Development Centre in Saskatchewan, and built the nation’s first Pulse Quality and Nutrition Laboratory at North Dakota State University. Due to this significant work, Thavarajah is renowned for her innovation in lentil biofortification, specifically for iron and selenium.
At Clemson, she leads the Pulse Crop Quality and Nutrition Organic Field Pea Nutritional Breeding program, with the goal to improve human nutrition by genetic biofortifcation of pulse crops – field pea and lentil. A top priority for this program is global nutritional security. Thavarajah also co-leads the Phenomics component of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Crop Improvement at Cornell University (https://ilci.cornell.edu/). The program is highly collaborative, working closely with ICARDA in Morocco, USDA-ARS from Washington State University, and the Nepal Agricultural Research Council. Through their efforts, Thavarajah’s team has helped to reduce global micronutrient deficiencies.
Dil Thavarajah has received major grants from agricultural societies to help fund her research, is involved in several outreach programs to combat malnutrition, and has an extensive line of research publications.
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