Shakuntala Thilsted has been appointed honorary doctor at SLU's Faculty of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences.
Dr Shakuntala Thilsted is based in Malaysia, where she is Global Lead for research on nutrition and public health at the WorldFish organisation. Much of her research has been on aquaculture of small fish species, and its potential to counteract malnutrition in women and children in low and middle-income countries. She earned her doctorate in the physiology of nutrition from the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University in Denmark, which later became part of the University of Copenhagen. She continued to research at these universities for a number of years, before joining WorldFish in 2010. Throughout her career, she has combined her academic work with consultancy and advisory roles on nutritional issues for organisations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, UNICEF, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Bank. In 2021, she was awarded the World Food Prize.
Shakuntala Thilsted was the first researcher to discover the high levels of essential micronutrients and fatty acids in the small native fish species commonly consumed in Bangladesh. She currently works with the development and testing of fish-based products for women and children during their first 1,000 days of life. These products can improve dietary variety and supply multiple highly bioavailable nutrients that are essential for the nutrition and health of women as well as the optimal growth, development and cognition in children.
Shakuntala Thilsted is a leading voice in promoting the use of fish and aquaculture to advance food security and attain the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Department of Aquatic Resources at SLU has recently started a collaboration with Shakuntala Thilsted and WorldFish thanks to a grant from the Swedish Research Council. The idea is to plan joint research projects as well as develop a long-term collaboration involving more departments at SLU.