Maleeka’s scientific career has been at the intersection of health, environmentalism and food science.
Maleeka Singh started her academic journey at the University of Toronto where she completed a BSc. in Genes, Genetics and Biotechnology. She uniquely chose to couple this degree with a degree in Sociology and a minor in English so she could bridge the gap between biological sciences and social studies. After graduation, she worked in the health and food industries, which sparked her interest in health, food safety and food integrity.
After gaining experience in this field, she chose to pursue an MSc. in Food Science at the University of Guelph where her research was focused on validating DNA authentication methods to identify commercial species of fish. With this research, she aimed to provide a rapid, efficient and cost-effective method to detect seafood fraud, subsequently reducing its food safety concerns and environmental impact. Her research and time in the field highlighted food integrity– the intersection of food safety and quality – and identified how this is often compromised by mismanagement of various products and food commodities. Her background in sociology helped her recognize the economic concerns of food fraud including increased food waste, potential foodborne diseases and other food safety risks.
Her current research aims to improve transparency in the food supply chain by using biological and chemical fingerprinting as multi-parameter and complementary tools to assess food integrity. This research will ensure a safe supply chain, high-quality foods for consumers, increased accountability from farmers to distributors and minimize waste.
Maleeka chose to pursue a PhD because of the University of Guelph and Arrell Food Institutes’ dedication to improving life and being on the front line of cutting-edge research in the food sector. Working with AFI will uniquely position her to apply her research at different levels of the supply chain and she hopes that the tools she validates will help industry, policy makers, and other key stakeholders to evaluate and monitor food integrity, thereby increasing transparency.