CVCD Excellence Award 2018 to Dr. Sameera R Samarakoon

CVCD Excellence Award 2018 to Dr. Sameera R Samarakoon

Dr Sameera R Samarakoon– Lecturer Institute of Biochemistry Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Colombo was awarded the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Directors (CVCD) Research Excellence Award – 2018, for the Most Outstanding young researcher in the field of Biological Science/Agriculture/Allied Science.

Sameera R Samarakoon is currently working as a Lecturer in the Institute of Biochemistry Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (IBMBB), University of Colombo. He is also working as the Business Development Officer at the same Institute in an honorary capacity from 2013. Dr. Samarakoon obtained his school education at Kohombadeniya primary school, Dorawaka Mahavidyalaya and Dudley Senanayake Central College, Tholangamauwa. He completed his first degree from the University of Kelaniya in Biological Sciences in 2007. Then he completed his master degree from the IBMBB, University of Colombo in Molecular Life Sciences in 2008. Then he obtained a post graduate diploma in Toxicology form the Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo in 2009. Dr. Samarakoon completed his PhD in the field of Molecular Biology and Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Colombo in 2014, and completed a short postdoctoral fellowship in the University of Pittsburg, USA in 2014.

Dr. Samarakoon started his research career in 2007 in the field of Molecular Biology. He began his research activities with cloning, sequencing and characterization of filarial parasite’s specific genes. Then he extended his research interest towards a new field during his PhD studies. He has conducted a range of research activities in anti-cancer drug screening and development in Sri Lanka from 2009.   Dr. Samarakoon’s currently focuses on screening and development of anti-cancer natural therapies which can target cancer stem cells. In 2013, he established cancer stem cell research in Sri Lanka for the first time. He has obtained several national and international grants for his research, including NRC competitive research grant and IFS-Sweden competitive grant.  Dr. Samarakoon has supervised about 17 MSc students and one PhD student so far. Currently he is supervising seven PhD and two MPhil students in the field of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Biology.

Dr. Samarakoon was awarded several national and international awards for his research including, the Presidential Awards for scientific publication in 2014 and 2016, NRC merit awards in 2015, Hiran Tillelerathne Special Awards for Outstanding Post Graduate Research in the field of Medicine in 2014, Award for the beast postgraduate (PhD) research in Sri Lanka organized by the Sri Lanka Association for Advancement of Science (SLAAS) in 2014 and the Vice Chancellors awards for research excellence in 2017. Dr. Samarakoon is currently serving as a member of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Subcommittee on Stem Cell Research. He was a member of the committee for popularization of science under the Sri Lanka Association for Advancement of Science in 2014. He is also a steering committee member of the Young Scientist Forum (YSF), National Science and Technology Commission, Sri Lanka in 2018 and 2019. Dr. Samarakoon is a life member of the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science (SLAAS), member of the Institute of Biology, Sri Lanka (IOB Sri Lanka) and licentiate member of the Institute of Chemistry Ceylon.

Dr. Samarakoon has authored numerous international peer reviewed publications (about 40 publications) and has authored or co-authored numerous presentations (86 abstracts) at national and international conferences. He served as a reviewer for many international journals.  He is involved in popularizing science and research in Sri Lanka. He is also involved as a science writer for the “Vidusara” newspaper and has participated several television and radio programs on popularizing science in Sri Lanka.