Champa Wijekoon, Ph. D.

Image Champa Wijekoon
Research Scientist
  • Improving Canadian crops and investigating the bioactive molecules that may provide significant benefits to our health. I also investigate the applications and roles of genes and microbial endophytes important in selected bioactive molecule synthesis, and on improving Canadian grown crops with desirable traits to use them as functional food.
  • Collaborative work studying the role of bioactive molecules of Canadian grown crops in health.  This includes understanding the molecular basis of the major/specialized/under-utilized crops and improving them in producing specific bioactive molecules.

Current research and/or projects

  1. Prairie fruits as functional food.
  2. Assessment of polyphenolic and fatty acid profiles in current Canadian barley grain and malt and investigation of brewers’ spent grain as a source for bioactives in improving human metabolic health.
  3. Endophyte microbiome of barley.
  4. Creating value from cull cherries.
  5. Climate change and vegetable crops.
  6. Smart Vertical Farm for Health in Northern Communities.
  7. Fungal endophytes for increased production of agricultural crops.
  8. Potential of oat-derived compounds in the prevention of the development of hypertension and heart disease in spontaneously hypertensive rats.

Research and/or project statements

Improve Canadian crops that contain bioactive molecules that can bring significant benefits to our health.

To study the applications and roles of genes and enodolytes important in the synthesis of selected bioactive molecules and to improve Canadian agriculture with desirable traits for use as functional foods.

Education and awards

Ph.D. (University of Calgary)

M.Sc. (University of Guelph)

B.Sc. (University of Peradeniya)

Key publications

  1. C. Wijekoon, S. D. Singer, R.J. Weselake, S. Acharya (2019 July 7-10) Metabolomics-Assisted Applications in Nutritional Genomics and Crop Improvement. Plant Canada conference. Guelph. Student poster presentation judge. Oral presentation by C. Wijekoon.

    2023 - View publication details

  2. C. Kodikara, N. Bandara, T. Netticadan, S. Sura, C. Wijekoon (2023 March 30). Bioactive profiling of Prairie Berries. The American Chemical Society Spring Meeting (ACS Spring) March 2023

    2023 - View publication details

  3. V. Weerasinghe, J.R. Tucker, A. Badea, W.G. D. Fernando, C. Wijekoon (2023 Jan 19-20) Effect of bacterial endophytes in mycotoxin production of barley. Rapid fire symposium at CCARM. Winnipeg (In person)- Oral presentation

    2023 - View publication details

  4. C. Kodikara, S. Sura, N. Bandara, T. Netticadan, C. Wijekoon (2023 Jan 19-20) Metabolomics assisted investigation of bioactive compounds in prairie berries. Rapid fire symposium at CCARM. Winnipeg

    2023 - View publication details

  5. B. Semenko, R. Nandasiri, H. Nandha, C. Wijekoon, S.R. Cook, G. Ross, M. Suh (2023 Jan 19-20). Vegetable processing to improve anti-diabetic properties for northern communities. Rapid fire symposium at CCARM. Winnipeg

    2023 - View publication details

  6. Bioactive Compounds In Barley_Final Research Report to the Funding Agency_December2022 - prepared by Badea and Wijekoon

    2022 - View publication details

  7. Ruchira Nandasiri, Breanne Semenko, Yingxuan Fan, Champa Wijekoon, Stephanie R. Cook, Glen Ross, Miyoung Suh (2022 November 17-18) Mitigating the Prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes in Northern Communities via Sustainable Agricultural Practices, Improved Food Processing, and Smart Vertical Farming. 10th Annual Indigenous Health Symposium

    2022 - View publication details

  8. V. Weerasinghe, J.R. Tucker, A. Badea, W.G. D. Fernando, C. Wijekoon (2022 Dec 7) Meta-sequencing of bacterial endophytes in clean and FHB-infected barley seeds. Canadian Phytopathological Society (CPS) Manitoba regional meeting. Winnipeg.

    2022 - View publication details

  9. Survey of fungal endophyte microbiome diversity of barley genotypes grown in western Canada - oral presentation

    2022 - View publication details

  10. Survey of fungal endophyte microbiome diversity of barley genotypes grown in western Canada.

    2022 - View publication details

  11. C. Wijekoon, A. Sabra, J. R. Tucker, A. Badea. (2022 July 4-8) Comparative analysis of phenolic compounds of Canadian barley reveals potential biomarkers related to Fusarium head blight resistance. CPS conference (virtual).

    2022 - View publication details

  12. We received 15 culture plates of fungal endophytes. We began with sub-culturing each plate onto potato glucose agar. One plate, SK DEV 1-2-1 showed growth of what looked like two different morphologies. Both growths were then sub-cultured and labeled SK DEV 1-2-1 and SK DEV 1-2-1 (Duplicate). All plates were incubated in the dark at room temperature for approximately 2-3 weeks and were consistently monitored with images taken at stages of early growth (within the first week) and late growth (after 3 weeks of growth). In total, 16 fungal endophytes were maintained for morphological and molecular analysis

    2022 - View publication details

  13. Bioactive Compounds In Barley_InterimResearchReportToFundingAgency_January2022

    2022 - View publication details

  14. BioactiveCompoundsInBarley_InterimResearchReportToFundingAgency_June2021

    2021 - View publication details

  15. Wijekoon, C., Quill, Z. (2021). Fungal endophyte diversity in table grapes. Canadian Journal of Microbiology, [online] 67(1), 29-36.

    2021 - View publication details

  16. Wijekoon, C., Acharya, S.N., Siow, Y.L., Sura, S., Thandapilly, S., Sabra, A. (2021). Canadian sainfoin and fenugreek as forage and functional foods. Crop Science, [online] 61(1), 1-20.

    2021 - View publication details

  17. Wijekoon, C., Singer, S.D., Weselake, R.J., Petrie, J.R., Chen, G., Singh, S., Eastmond, P.J., Acharya, S.N. (2020). Downregulation of key genes involved in carbon metabolism in Medicago truncatula results in increased lipid accumulation in vegetative tissue. Crop Science, [online] 60(4), 1798-1808.

    2020 - View publication details

  18. Wijekoon, C., Singer, S.D., Weselake, R.J., Subedi, U., Acharya, S.N. (2019). Evaluation of virus-induced gene silencing methods for forage legumes including alfalfa, sainfoin, and fenugreek. Canadian Journal of Plant Science, [online] 99(6), 917-926.

    2019 - View publication details

  19. Wijekoon, C.P., Pageni, B.B., Kalischuk, M.L., Lupwayi, N.Z., Kawchuk, L.M. (2017). Amplification of the Phytophthora infestans RG57 loci Facilitates in planta T-RFLP Identification of Late Blight Genotypes. American Journal of Potato Research, [online] 94(3), 251-257.

    2017 - View publication details

  20. M. Kalischuk, M. Harding, R. Howard, R. Peters, C. Wijekoon, J. LeBoeuf, S. Sabaratnam, D. Waterer, B. Bizimungu, K. Al-Mughrabi and L. Kawchuk. (2016) Characterization of Phytophthora infestans strains causing late blight provides new disease prevention strategies. ”Pathology”, 100th Annual Meeting of The Potato Association of America, July 31- August 4, 2016, Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA. (Presentation)

    2016 - View publication details

Research facility

Route 100, Unit 100-101
Morden, MB R6M 1Y5


University of Wiinipeg staff and students

University of Manitoba staff and students