Nadeeja Wijayatunga

Assistant Professor of Nutrition & Hospitality Management

Nadeeja Niranjalie Wijayatunga

Dr. Nadeeja Wijayatunga is a physician, a registered dietitian, and a nutrition scientist by training who is interested in studying bio-behavioral aspects of obesity and unhealthy lean.

Research Interests

  • Behavioral aspects of obesity and unhealthy lean
  • Time-restricted eating
  • Weight bias


Dr. Nadeeja N. Wijayatunga MD (MBBS), MPhil, PhD, RDN is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management at the University of Mississippi. She is a physician, nutrition scientist, and registered dietitian nutritionist by training. Her current research areas include behavioral aspects of obesity and unhealthy lean, efficacy and safety of time-restricted eating, and weight bias. Dr. Wijayatunga obtained her PhD in Nutritional Sciences from Texas Tech University in 2017.

Her postdoctoral training was in the Department of Kinesiology and Sport Management at Texas Tech University. She has experience in clinical, behavioral, and basic science research in obesity. She completed her residency in Medicine and Surgery and worked as a physician in Anesthesia/ Intensive Care in Sri Lanka. Before coming to the United States, she also worked as a faculty in the Department of Biochemistry at the Medical School of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura in Sri Lanka.


Dr. Wijayatunga has co-published numerous peer-reviewed  articles, including: 

Wijayatunga, N.N. and M. Fernandez-del-Valle. Not So Normal Unhealthy Lean, in The Active Female: Health Issues throughout the Lifespan, J.J. Robert- McComb, M. Zumwalt, and M. Fernandez-del-Valle, Editors. 2023, Springer International Publishing: Cham. p. 545-562.

Wijayatunga N.N., Kim H., Hays H. M., Kang M. (2022). Objectively measured physical activity is lower in individuals with normal weight obesity in the US– NHANES 2003-2006. in the United States. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.;19(18):11747.

Wijayatunga, N.N., Dhurandhar, E. (2021). Normal weight obesity and unaddressed cardiometabolic health risk—a narrative review. Int J Obes . 

Wijayatunga, N.N., Bailey, D., Klobodu, S.S. Knight, K, Dhurandhar, E. A short, attribution theory-based video intervention does not reduce weight bias in a nationally representative sample of registered dietitians: a randomized trial. Int J Obes (2021). 

Ramalho, T., Pahlavani, M., Kalupahana, N., Wijayatunga, N., Ramalingam, L., Jancar, S., & Moustaid-Moussa, N. (2020). Eicosapentaenoic acidregulates inflammatory pathways through modulation of transcripts and mirna in adipose tissue of obese mice. Biomolecules, 10(9), E1292. 

Gibson, M. J., Dawson, J. A., Wijayatunga, N. N., Ironuma, B., Chatindiara, I., Ovalle, F., . . .Dhurandhar, E. J. (2019). A randomized cross-over trial to determine the effect of a protein vs. carbohydrate preload on energy balance in ad libitum settings.Nutrition Journal,18(1), 69.doi:10.1186/s12937-019-0497-4 

Wijayatunga, N. N., Ironuma, B., Dawson, J. A., Rusinovich, B., Myers, C. A., Cardel, M., . . .Dhurandhar, E. J. (2019). Subjective social status is associated with compensation for large meals - A prospective pilot study. Appetite, 132, 249-256. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2018.07.031 

Wijayatunga N.N., Kim Y., Butsch W.S., Dhurandhar E.J. The effects of a teaching intervention on weight bias among kinesiology undergraduate students. Int J Obes (Lond), 43(11), 2273-2281. doi:10.1038/s41366-019-0325-0 

Pahlavani M., Wijayatunga N.N., Kalupahana N.S., Ramalingam L., Gunaratne P.H., Kottapalli P., Coarfa C., Rajapakshe K., Moustaid-Moussa, N (2018). Transcriptomic and microRNA analyses of gene networks regulated by eicosapentaenoic acid in brown and subcutaneous adipose tissue of diet-induced obese mice. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids.1863(12):1523-31. 

Wijayatunga, N. N., Pahlavani, M., Kalupahana, N. S., Kottapalli, K. R., Gunaratne, P. H., Coarfa, C., Moustaid-Moussa, N. (2018). An integrative transcriptomic approach to identify depot differences in genes and microRNAs in adipose tissues from high fat fed mice. Oncotarget, 9(10), 9246-9261. doi:10.18632/oncotarget.24226 

Wijayatunga, N. N., Sams, V. G., Dawson, J. A., Mancini, M. L., Mancini, G. J., & Moustaid-Moussa, N. (2018). Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery alters serum metabolites and fatty acids inpatients with morbid obesity. Diabetes Metab Res Rev, 34(8), e3045. doi:10.1002/dmrr.3045 

Sams, V. G., Blackledge, C., Wijayatunga, N., Barlow, P., Mancini, M., Mancini, G., & Moustaid-Moussa, N. (2016). Effect of bariatric surgery on systemic and adipose tissue inflammation. Surg Endosc, 30(8), 3499-3504. doi:10.1007/s00464-015-4638-3 

Silva, N., Tennakoon, V., & Wijayatunga, N. N. (2013). What makes medical students to say “yes” to e-learning? Sri Lanka Journal of Bio-medical Informatics, 4(1), 7-13. DOI: 

See what Dr. Wijayatunga's been up to 


MD Medicine, University of Peradeniya (2005)

MPhil Biochemistry, University of Sri Jayewardenepura (2014)

Ph.D. Nutrition, Texas Tech University (2017)

UM Researcher Provides the Skinny on Normal Weight Obesity

Nadeeja Wijayatunga publishes study of 'skinny fat' health risks in International Journal of Obesity.