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 include 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. 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

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

    2021 - View publication details

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. Wijekoon, C., Pageni, B.B., and Kawchuk, L.M. (2015). "Rapid molecular characterization of the late blight pathogen Phytophthora infestans.", Botany 2015 Joint Conference: Science and plants for people, Shaw Convention Center, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, July 25-30, 2015, # 825. (Abstract)

    2015 - View publication details

  8. Alkher, H.A., Islam, M.R., Wijekoon, C.P., Wijekoon, C.P., Kalischuk, M.L., Kawchuk, L.M., Peters, R.D., Al-Mughrabi, K.I., Conn, K.L., Dobinson, K.F., Waterer, D.R., and Daayf, F. (2015). "Characterization of Phytophthora infestans populations in Canada during 2012.", Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology, 37(3), pp. 305-314. doi : 10.1080/07060661.2015.1053987

    2015 - View publication details

  9. Wijekoon, C. and Kawchuk, L.M. (2014). "Molecular characterization of Late blight pathogen (Phytophthora infestans) using microsatellite and TRFLP analysis.", Annual Meeting of the Plant Pathology Society of Alberta, Pocaterra Inn, Canmore, AB, Canada, November 3-5, 2014.

    2014 - View publication details

  10. Bilodeau, G.J., Gagnon, M., Lévesque, C.A., Kawchuk, L.M., Wijekoon, C.P., Wijekoon, C.P., Feau, N., Bergeron, M., Grünwald, N.J., Brasier, C.M., Webber, J.F., and Hamelin, R.C. (2014). "Tools for rapid characterization tools of Phytophthora infestans and Phytophthora ramorum using real-time PCR and microsatellites from genomic resources.", Phytophthora in Forests and Natural Ecosystems: 7th Meeting of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) Working Party S07-02-09,, pp. 58. (Abstract)

    2014 - View publication details

  11. Gagnon, M., Lévesque, C.A., Kawchuk, L.M., Wijekoon, C.P., Feau, N., Bergeron, M., Grünwald, N.J., Hamelin, R.C., and Bilodeau, G.J. (2014). "Development of rapid characterization tools for Phytophthora infestans and Phytophthora ramorum using real-time PCR and microsatellites from a genomic resource.", Oomycete Molecular Genetics Network Annual Meeting 2014, Norwich, UK, July 2-4, 2014.

    2014 - View publication details

  12. Hwang, Y.T., Wijekoon, C., Kalischuk, M.L., Johnson, D.L., Howard, R.J., Prüfer, D., and Kawchuk, L.M. (2014). "Evolution and Management of the Irish Potato Famine Pathogen îPhytophthora Infestans in Canada and the United States.", American Journal of Potato Research. doi : 10.1007/s12230-014-9401-0

    2014 - View publication details

  13. Wijekoon, C.P., Wijekoon, C.P., Peters, R.D., Al-Mughrabi, K.I., and Kawchuk, L.M. (2014). "First Report of Late Blight Caused by Phytophthora infestans Clonal Lineage US-23 on Tomato and Potato in Atlantic Canada.", Plant Disease, 98(3), pp. 426. doi : 10.1094/PDIS-08-13-0807-PDN

    2014 - View publication details

  14. Wijekoon, C.P., Wijekoon, C.P., Kalischuk, M.L., Spencer, R.C.J., Howard, R.J., and Kawchuk, L.M. (2013). "Characterization of Apioplagiostoma populi causing bronze leaf disease in poplar.", Annual Meeting of the Plant Pathology Society of Alberta, Brooks, AB, Canada, November 4-6, 2013.

    2013 - 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