Hajara is a PhD candidate within the Food and Mood Centre and her PhD project is part of a 16-week randomized controlled trial, which is designed to assess the effects of A2 versus conventional dairy products on symptoms of psychological distress and aspects of gut physiology and body composition in women with low mood. Her PhD will address whether different types of milk proteins affect gut functions, including gut microbiota, gut epithelia integrity and gut symptomatology (that are believed to be causally related to metabolic diseases) and body composition. Also, Hajara collaborates with the Geelong Osteoporosis Study to investigate population level associations between dairy intakes and gut disorders and body composition.
Prior to commencing her PhD she completed her Master’s degree in Food Science and Technology at university of Sri-Jayewardenapura, Sri-Lanka and worked as an assistant lecturer. Her previous study focused on analysing the effect of integrated natural prebiotic compositions on several probiotics and holds a patent on a novel prebiotic treatment that can maximize the growth of probiotics in vitro.
Hajara is highly passionate in understanding the complex bidirectional relationship between gut and brain and developing nutritional strategies in overcoming gut induced implications to mental health.
Research areas: Gut microbiota, Dairy proteins, Fermentation and Prebiotics
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