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Mahavidanage Jaanaki Gooneratne

Former Head/ Senior Deputy Director, Food Technology Section, Ministry of Science and Technology, Sri Lanka

Dr Jaanaki Gooneratne is a Food Scientist and Nutritionist, with many years of research experience at the Industrial Technology Institute (formally known as Ceylon Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research) under the Ministry of Science and Technology, Sri Lanka. She plays an advisory role on food applications/formulations, assists in developing food standards and helps in regulatory matters, providing guidance to both Government and Private sector organizations. She has closely worked with India, Japan, China and the United Kingdom, on food-related research projects that have added value to a number of local food commodities such as legumes, rice, millets, banana, coconut and bamboo. Her research interests also include raising the nutritional status of people, and she was an advisor to the Sri Lankan Government in its efforts to improve the nutritional status of preschool/school going children. Her passion has been towards sports nutrition, and she was the winner of a National Science and Technology Award for commercializing an isotonic lime-based product for sports men/women. Dr. Gooneratne obtained a PhD in Food Science and Nutrition from the University of Sri Jayawardenapura, with a major part of her research done in food laboratories in Sweden and the UK. She continues to share her research knowledge by teaching food science and nutrition to Masters students in two universities and provides guidance and training to students from many other universities. She is a Fulbright Senior Scholar and completed her post-doctoral studies at the John Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA. She also trains trainers on food safety in the UK and conducts training in many island-wide programs, particularly in the food industry. She has published a book titled “Food components in a healthy diet” meant for improving peoples’ food habits. As General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science, she was responsible for the popularization of science among teachers, students and society. She also held positions as President of the Nutrition Society of Sri Lanka and was a member of the Asian Nutrition Society. She has shared much of her knowledge on nutrition in several, popular radio and TV channels.