Dil Thavarajah, Ph.D.
Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Who is Professor Thavarajah?
Dil Thavarajah is a Sri Lanka-born Canadian (the USA Green Card Holder). She completed her BSc degree from University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, and then moved to University of Saskatchewan, Canada to complete her masters (Soil Science), and doctorate degrees (Plant Physiology). As a postdoctoral fellow, Dil established the first discoveries of lentil selenium research using syncrotron techniques. Then, she joined the world largest lentil breeding program in Crop Development Centre, Saskatchewan, Canada where she initiated the Canadian lentil bio-fortification program. In 2010, Dil moved to North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND, and established the nation’s first Pulse Quality and Nutrition Laboratory. Since 2014, Dil has been an Assistant Professor at Clemson University, leading the Specialty Crop Research program (Pulse/Vegetable Quality and Nutrition) and studying food systems linking to human health. Her current teaching responsibilities are Vegetable Crops (HORT 4560/4561), Food Systems Linking to Human Health (PES 8060), Sustainable Food Systems towards Food Security (PES 4960/4979-006), and a Creative Inquiry (Tiger Gardens-Co-teaching with Dr. Agudelo).
How Professor Thavarajah's research is transforming health care
Dil is a passionate scientist seeking to understand the link between global food system and human health. As a result, she has established research programs on bio-fortification of pulse crops with micronutrients (minerals, carotenoids, and folates), and prebiotic carbohydrates to combat malnutrition, and obesity related non-communicable diseases. Recently, her research group has established animal models to determine what effects lentil prebiotic carbohydrates have on gastrointestinal health. Also, she has a greater desire to implement healthy food systems using home and community gardens, especially for low-income communities in South Carolina. The last five years of Dil’s research program data focused on pulses and vegetables, have been included in the USDA and FAO nutrient databases. In addition, her research papers, industry reports, and other communications have helped to position lentil as a sustainable whole food solution to micronutrient malnutrition. Dil’s group has assisted HarvestPlus and ICARDA to develop food solutions to reduce global micronutrient deficiencies
Health Research Expertise Keywords
Micronutrient Malnutrition, Obesity, Gut Health, Prebiotic Carbohydrates, Food Systems, Selenium, Sustainable Agriculture