Dr. Wijenayake (PhD)
Assistant Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology
The University of Winnipeg
Dr. Wijenayake is an Assistant Professor at the University of Winnipeg. She is an early career researcher with expertise in cell & molecular biology, biochemistry, epigenetics, extracellular vesicles, developmental biology, and bioinformatics (sequenced “big” data). She is passionate about uncovering the therapeutic potential of milk-derived exosomes, especially in the context of improving neonatal health. Mechanistic insights obtained from her research can be used to improve nutritional benefits of formula feeding in premature neonates, fortification of pasteurized human donor milk with bovine and/or human milk-derived exosomes, and the development of oral therapeutics for necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in premature neonates in Canada. She anticipates her research will identify multitudes of novel genes and developmental pathways that could be altered by epigenetic changes in response to maternal obesity and shed light on an important epigenetic regulator, milk-derived exosomes and milk microRNAs that may govern early life development.
Dr. Wijenayake is a big foodie, loves to cook, run, do yoga and Pilates, and travel. She has an 80 pound German Shephard (Bella) who keeps her on her toes. She is a dedicated research mentor, a passionate teacher and a strong advocate of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Indigenization.
- Fav Scientist: Dr. Marie Curie
- Fav Book: The English Patient
- Fav Movie: All 8 Harry Potter Movies
- Fav Artist: The Weeknd