Professor Chamari M. Hettiarachchi

Professor in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry

Department of Chemistry
University of Colombo
Colombo 00300
Sri Lanka

Office: Department of Chemistry, Room: 129
Work Phone: +94 11-250 3367
Work Fax: +94 11-250 3367

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Academic & Professional Qualifications

  • PhD 2003

    PhD - Plant Molecular Biology & Biochemistry

    Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

  • BSc 1996

    BSc - Special Degree in Botany (Second Class Upper Division)

    University of Colombo


      • Molecular Biology, Biochemistry & Microbiology

      Research Interests

      • Applying knowledge gained from studies of Arabidopsis thaliana on the agriculturally important crop rice (Oryza sativa).Light signaling in plants:Light is an important factor for plant growth and development. During my postdoc, I studied a group of Arabidopsis proteins (STO, STH, STH2 & STH3) that were identified through their interactions with two key regulators of light signaling, COP1 and HY5. The productivity of crop plants might be enhanced by over expressing central regulator of light signaling pathways. The main aim of this project is to overexpress the (Salt Tolerance Homolog 2) STH2 gene in rice to improve its quality and productivity.Abiotic stress signaling in plants:The Arabidopsis plants with mutations in the STH2 gene show hypersensitivity to Abscisic acid (ABA), a drought and salt stress regulating hormone, and to NaCl in germination and root growth assay. Furthermore, we have found that the expression of several key regulators of ABA signaling is altered in the sth2 mutant indicating that the STH2 gene plays an important role in response to drought and salinity. The main objective of this project is to apply this knowledge on rice in an effort to obtain drought tolerance Sri Lankan rice varieties.