Prof. Dilantha Fernando - Recipient of the International and national awards for outstanding research in plant pathology and crop disease management
Professor Fernando’s research has made a tremendous impact on Canadian agriculture and the discipline of plant pathology. He is the pioneer in research on blackleg of canola and was the first to report new races of the blackleg pathogen in North America, Brazil, Hungary, and Iran. His research on Fusarium head blight of wheat has also had a tremendous impact and his pioneering studies on the dynamics of ascospore release, dispersal, and ensuing infection substantially increased the knowledge of the epidemiology of this important disease in Canada. Professor Fernando is also a pioneer in advancing biological control of crop diseases in Canada. His studies on the mechanisms of bio-control have led to many novel discoveries, including antibiosis and its differential efficacy against different plant pathogens, gene expression/regulation mechanisms, and biofilm formation in bio-control.
He has demonstrated innovative research in plant disease management and exceptional productivity, with 145 peer-reviewed articles, 15 book chapters, 78 proceeding papers, and 240 abstracts. He has supervised 31 graduate students, 80 highly qualified personnel, and taught many plant pathology courses. He was the president for CPS in 2018- 2019 and was recognized by APS as a Fellow in 2019. Professor Dilantha has been recognized numerous times through invitations by many countries for keynote addresses at international conferences, to numerous boards, as an Editor-in-Chief and Editor by two prestigious journals in the world. The training of HQP in his lab has contributed to science in a major way, with many firsts and discoveries that have been published in high impact peer-reviewed journals bringing recognition to Canada and Sri Lanka.
In recognition of his outstanding research in plant pathology and crop disease management, far-reaching impact in research on crop industry in Canada, exceptional teaching and mentorship, services and the leadership provided to CPS (Canadian Phytopathological Society) and APS (The American Phytopathological Society), as well as extraordinary outreach, Professor Fernando is the recipient of the 2020 CPS Award, which is the Society’s most prestigious award, the highest award, The Fellow award of APS in 2019 and 2019 University of Manitoba Merit Award.
Professor Dilantha Fernando is an internationally recognized plant scientist and currently affiliated as a professor in the Department of Plant Science at the University of Manitoba, Canada. He joined NIFS, Sri Lanka as an Adjunct Professor of plant sciences in 2018. He has received his Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from Oregon State University, USA and completed postdoctoral positions at Michigan State, University of Arizona, McGill and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.