Item in the Daily Mirror [of Sri Lanka], 20 December 2022, entitled “SL twins become Melbourne Uni’s first twin PhD graduates”
For the first time in its 168-year history, the University of Melbourne has awarded simultaneous PhDs to identical twins, the University said in a statement. Nadeesha and Thejani Gunaratne commenced PhDs with the University in 2016 following studies in Food Science and Technology at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura in their home country of Sri Lanka.
Both received their doctorates on Saturday 17 December in Melbourne, one day before International Twins Day.
During their PhD, both twins researched new ways to measure and analyze consumers’ emotional and sensory responses to chocolate in complementary research, with Thejani focusing on the impact of chocolate flavour and Nadeesha on the impact of packaging.
Their graduation ceremony was originally planned for March 2020, but was delayed due to the pandemic.
Thejani is now a Senior Experimental Scientist – Sensory and Consumer Science at CSIRO in Melbourne and Nadeesha is a Research Scientist – Sensory and Consumer Products at Amway in Los Angeles. “Being born twins, we have a unique bond that’s hard to explain to other people,” Thejani said. “The fact that we have completed all important milestones together, primary school, high school and now university, has made our lives even more enjoyable. We were eagerly waiting to attend the PhD graduation together as it means a lot to us.”
Although the twins now live on opposite sides of the world, Nadeesha says they’re closer than ever. “We still talk multiple times a day whether it’s by text, over the phone or on Zoom,” she said. “The fact that we’re finally together and were able to graduate together in person is a dream come true for both of us and our family.”
They achieved seven academic journal publications in their PhDs, all with both twins as co-authors.
Thejani is now a Senior Experimental Scientist – Sensory and Consumer Science at CSIRO in Melbourne and Nadeesha is a Research Scientist – Sensory and Consumer Products at Amway in Los Angeles.
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