3MT 2022 Finalist Dilrukshi Kombala Liyanage

Dilrukshi Kombala Liyanage

Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, College of Natural + Applied Sciences

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Challenge the Drought

Introduce yourself...

I’m a second-year graduate student at the Plant-Microbe lab in the Department of Agriculture Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta.

What are you researching and what do you hope comes out of your research?

My research is on identifying drought-tolerant soybean cultivars that would help create new varieties in breeding programs that can withstand drought stress, high nitrogen fixing, and produce high yields.

How did presenting a Three Minute Thesis (3MT) help explain your research to the public?

The 3MT gave me a great opportunity to look at my research in a simpler yet interesting way. It helps explain my research to the public sharing my research experience and aware them of the anticipated future climate change.

What inspires you to do research?

I’m a curious person and I love agriculture. From my undergraduate, I was passionate about exploring more in agriculture which led me to do a thesis-based Master's at U of A.

What are three keywords important to your 3MT?

Drought - tolerance, soybean, Nitrogen fixation

How does your research impact local, provincial, or global communities at large?

The global population is predicted to be reaching 9.7 billion by 2050, and there is an increasing food demand, with a specific need for protein. Soybean is the leading commercial grain legume grown in the world. In Canada, soybean is the third largest field crop in terms of farm cash receipts and its production has recently grown significantly in the Canadian Prairies. Notably, the changing global climate is predicted to lead large areas of the world to experience extensive drought conditions over the next few decades and many regions in western Canada have been experiencing frequent and severe droughts over the last few decades. Therefore, there is a great need to improve the drought resistance in soybean to increase the food production for the rising population in the world. Therefore, I believe my research impact the whole world.

If you had to dedicate your research to anyone from the past, present, or future—who would it be and why?

I would like to dedicate my research to my supervisor Dr. Malinda Thilakarathna for his guidance and members of the Plant-Microbe lab.

Image Description - It's picture of a desert, on the left hand side there is a pale color plant which is under drought stress and on the right side there is a greenish well grown plant even under the drought stress.

Watch Dilrukshi's Three Minute Thesis