Samodha C. Fernando

Photo of Samodha Fernando
Areas of Expertise
Ruminant Nutrition
Associate Professor
Nutritional Biochemistry


  • 2008 – 2011 Postdoctoral Associate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
  • 2004 – 2008 Ph.D. in Animal Nutrition/Microbial Genomics, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK
  • 2002 – 2004 M.S. in Animal Science, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK
  • 1998 – 2002 B.Sc. in Microbiology, University of Kelaniya (Sri Lanka)

Positions Held

  • 2011 – present Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE
  • 2008 – 2011 Postdoctoral Associate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
  • 2002 – 2008 Graduate Research Assistant, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK

Selected Awards

  • Oklahoma State University Research Excellence Award for outstanding research contribution in Biological Sciences (2008) - Awarded at Graduate Commencement
  • Outstanding Ph.D. Student in the Department of Animal Science (2008)
  • Joe V. Whiteman Award for Outstanding graduate student scientific paper in Animal Science (2007)
  • Sitlington Graduate Fellowship Award (2005-2007)
  • Williams Outstanding Thesis Award, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Oklahoma State University (2005)

Professional Activities and Affiliations

  • Member of the American Society of Microbiology (2010 – Present)
  • Member of the Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society (2003)
  • Reviewer, Journal of Environmental Microbiology (2010 – Present)
  • Member of the Gut Function Initiative at University of Nebraska (2011-Present)
  • Member of the Microbiology Initiative at University of Nebraska (2011-Present)

Research Interests

  • My research interests are in understanding microbial structure-function relationships to improve human and animal nutrition. To this end, I am interested in,
  • Understanding the role of the microbial food chain in methanogenesis and other metabolic disorders in ruminants
  • Develop new animal models to study structure-function relationships in the human microbiome
  • Understand the influence of host-genotype, gut microbiota and environment towards pathogen colonization in humans and live stock
  • Uncovering the gut virome in ruminants and non-ruminants

Selected Publications

  • Fernando S.C., Purvis II H.T., Najar F.Z., Sukharnikov L., Nagaraja T.G., Krehbiel C.R., Roe B.A., DeSilva U. (2010) Rumen microbial population dynamics during adaptation to high-grain diet. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 76(22): 7482-7490
  • Fernando S. C., Purvis II H.T., Najar F.Z., Wiley G., Macmil S., Sukharnikov L., Nagaraja T.G., Krehbiel C.R., Roe B.A., DeSilva U. (2007) Meta-functional genomics of the rumen biome. J. Ani. Sci. 85: 569-569 Suppl. 1
  • Fernando, S. C., Najar, F. Z., Guo, X., Zhou, L., Fu, Y., Geisert, R. D., Roe, B. A., and DeSilva, U. (2007) Isolation and characterization of the porcine kallikrein gene family: Genomic structure, radiation-hybrid mapping and differential expression analysis. Genomics 89(3):429-38
  • Bommineni, Y.R., Dai, H., Gong, Y. X., Soulages, J. L., Fernando, S. C., DeSilva, U., Prakash, O., and Zhang, G. (2007) Fowlicidin-3 is an alpha-helical cationic host defense peptide with potent antibacterial and lipopolysaccharide-neutralizing activities. FEBS J. 274(2):418-28
  • Fernando, S. C., Ashworth, M.S., Ross, J. W., Geisert, R. D., and DeSilva, U. (2006) Porcine endometrial and conceptus tissue kallikrein 1,4,11 and 14 gene expression. Reproduction 132,1-10
  • Xiao, Y., Cai, Y., Bommineni, Y.R., Fernando, S.C., Prakash, O., Gilliland, S.E. and Zhang, G. (2006) Identification and functional characterization of three chicken cathelicidins with potent antimicrobial activity. J. Biol. Chem. 281(5) 2858-2867
  • Purvis, H., II, Fernando, S., Rutz, K., Najar, F., Roe, B., and DeSilva U. (2006) Evaluation of rumen microbial fluctuations in response to sub acute rumen acidosis using 16S rDNA profiles. J. Ani. Sci. 84: 86-86 Suppl. 1
  • Davis, R.L., Buck, D.J., Saffarian, N., Shekher, M., DeSilva, U., Fernando, S.C., and Stevens, C.W. (2008) β-Funaltrexamine inhibits inducible nitric-oxide synthase expression in human astroglial cells. journal of neuroimmune pharmacology 3(3): 150-153
  • DeSilva, U., Guo, X., Kupfer, D. M., Fernando, S. C., Pillai, A. T. V., Najar, F. Z., So, S., Fitch, G. Q., and Roe, B. A. (2003). Allelic variants of ovine prion protein gene (PRNP) in Oklahoma sheep. Cytogenet. Genome Res. 102(1-4):89-94
  • Vonnahme K. A., Fernando, S. C., Ross, J. A., Ashworth, M. D., DeSilva, U., Malayer, J. R., and Geisert, R. D. (2003). Porcine endometrial and conceptus expression of kininogens and plasma kallikrein in cyclic and pregnant gilts. Biol. Reprod. 70(1): 132-138