Research & Grants

Research Interests

  • Gene manipulations in plants - Expression of gluten proteins in rice endosperm to develop “wheat like rice”. Over expression of fruit Bromelain gene in prokaryotic host. Use of fungal chitinase and glucanase genes to engineer plant defense against fungal pathogens. Overexpression of Salt Tolerance Homolog 2 (STH2) gene in Bg 250 Sri Lankan rice variety to develop salinity and drought resistant rice.
  • Study of polymorphism in pathogenic fungi using molecular markers - Determination of genetic variation of rice blast fungus (Magneporthe grisea) using molecular markers. Detection of Variability of Rigidiporus microporus- The Causative fungus of the white root disease of rubber’.
  • DNA based diagnosis of genetic diseases - Screening for Fragile X Syndrome among children presenting with learning difficulties. BRCA1, BRCA2 and P53 gene mutation detection in Sri Lankan breast cancer patients using PCR. Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) mutation detection using Multiplex PCR.
  • Genetic basis of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) - Genotyping the Sri Lankan woman with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): towards a novel diagnosis.
  • Study of gene manipulations in fungi& bacteria - Isolation and characterization of cellulase gene complex of Aspergillus niger. Cloning and expression of cellulase and xylanase genes of Trichoderma species. Genetic engineering of yeast to express cellulase and hemicellulase enzymes from Trichoderma species to degrade biomass for production of ethanol.
  • Molecular Biology of filarial parasites - Purification and characterization of lactate dehydrogenase from cattle filarial nematode Setaria digitata. Development of DNA based techniques to detect cattle filarial nematode Setaria digitata. Development of oligonucleotide-based hybridization assay for the detection of Wuchereria bancrofti. Characterization of heat shock protein gene of Wuchereria bancrofti. Use of molecular markers to differentiate Setaria digitata and Setaria labiatopapillosa, filarial parasites found in cattle. Isolation and characterization of gene encoding nematode specific fatty acid and retinol binding protein (far-1) from cattle filarial parasite, Setaria digitata.
  • DNA base diagnosis of infectious diseases - Development of ELISA based non-radioactive detection system to increase the sensitivity of detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in PCR amplified products of clinical samples. Determination of drug resistant gene mutations among strains of M. tuberculosis. Development of gold nanoparticle based lateral flow assay for detection of point mutations in drug resistant M. tuberculosis Detection of Salmonella using PCR.

Research Grants

  • University of Colombo Grant No. AP/3/2/2018/S/15. Isolation, cloning and expression of laccase gene from Rigidoporus microporus in yeast for the effective utilization of lignin in plant biomass (Principal Investigator). Awarded in 2018, Rs. 50000.00
  • University of Colombo Grant No. AP/3/2/2016/Sg/09. Cloning, expression and purification of fruit bromelain in a prokaryotic host system. (Principal Investigator). Awarded in 2016, Rs. 50000.00.
  • National Research Council Grant No. 15-149. “Genotyping the Sri Lankan woman with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS):towards a novel diagnosis”  (Co-investigator). Awarded in 2015, Rs. 3.2M.
  • University of Colombo Grant No. AP/3/2/2014/RG/12. ‘Isolation and cloning of microbial genes encoding polyethylene degradation: towards the development of an enhanced biosystem. (Co- investigator). Awarded in 2014, Rs. 3M.
  • National Science Foundation Grant No. RG/2012/BT/02: Cloning and expression of cellulase and xylanase genes of Trichoderma in a yeast system to develop synergistic saccharification and direct fermentation of cellulosic biomass to ethanol, (Principal Investigator). Awarded in 2012, Rs 4.18M
  • National Research Council Grant No. 12- 140. Genetic mutations responsible for isoniazid (INAH) resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis, development of a rapid molecular method for detection of INAH resistance and study of molecular epidemiology of INAH resistant strains of M. tuberculosis in Sri Lanka’ (Co- investigator). Awarded in 2012, Rs. 9.2M.
  • University of Colombo Grant No. AP/3/2012/CG/11. ‘Screening for FMR1 expansion mutations among children attending special education institutes in Sri Lanka – A community survey, (Co- investigator). Awarded in 2012.Rs. 3M.
  • National Research Council Grant No.12-068. ‘Screening of Fragile X premutation among individuals attending special education institutes – a community survey, (Co- investigator). Awarded in 2012, Rs 1.9M.
  • National Science Foundation Grant No. RG / 2010/BT/04 ‘Construction and characterization of expression vector cassettes containing genes    for wheat proteins, gliadin and glutenin-towards the development of wheat-like rice’, (Principal Investigator). Awarded in 2011, Rs. 4.60 M
  • National Science Foundation Grant No. RG/2009/HS/02 ‘Screening for Fragile X Syndrome among children presenting with learning difficulties, (Co-Investigator). Awarded in 2009, Rs. 1.6M.
  • National Science Foundation Grant No. RG/2007/BT/03 ‘Determination of drug resistant gene mutations among rifampicin resistant strains of M. tuberculosis’, (Co-investigator). Awarded in 2007, Rs. 4.04M
  • National Science Foundation Grant No. SIDA/2006/BT/05: ‘Determination of Pathotype & Genetic Variation of Rice Blast Fungus (Magneporthe grisea) isolates in Agro ecological Zones in Sri Lanka’, (Principal Investigator). Awarded in 2006, Rs. 1.75M.
  • Research Grant from the Consolidated Fund of the Ministry of Health. Development of an oligonucleotide-based ELISA detection method to identify Mycobacterium tuberculosis in PCR products of clinical samples, (Principal Investigator). Awarded in 2005, Rs. 100000.00
  • National Science Foundation Grant No. SIDA/2004/BT/03: September 2004. Isolation of a gene encoding a nematode specific fatty acid and retinol binding protein (far-1) from the filarial parasite Setaria digitata’, (Co-Investigator). Awarded in 2004.
  • Equipment grants obtained through the Faculty to the Department

     

    Initiated and worked towards obtaining the following Equipment Grants from the National Science Foundation to the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

    Gel documentation system-2006

    Gradient PCR- 2012

    -800C Deep-Freezer -2015