Nethaji Gallage

Nethaji Gallage – Postdoc fellow

University of Copenhagen

I am a bioengineering-scientist at Centre for Synthetic Biology, University of Copenhagen (UCPH). My work is primarily focused on discovery, elucidation and bioengineering of plant high-value compounds with a view to contribute to an environmentally sustainable bio-production platform for sought-after molecules that are close to impossible to synthesize chemically or have a high consumer demand that cannot be saturated by plant extraction alone.

I was born in Sri Lanka and moved to Denmark when I was 19. After obtaining my MSc. in Biology and Biotechnology at UCPH, I joined Birger Lindberg Møller’s group at the Plant Biochemistry Laboratory (UCPH) for my PhD studies during which founded a completely new research field in the department: The biosynthesis of vanillin, the most widely used flavor in the World.

Through my work, I have had the great opportunity to collaborate with and gain insights into the benefits of industrial partnerships and have shared my work with the general public through global media outlets such as Reuters.

I am also a mother to three boys (7,4 and 2) and have a loving husband who is also pursuing a carrier in the biotech industry in Denmark. I am a very enthusiastic wild life photographer and that takes me to great adventures all around the world, including annual self-drive safari in African continent, which I am highly addicted to.