Meet Sri Lankan Researcher — Dinithi Sumanaweera

Dinithi Sumanaweera is a PhD student in the Faculty of Information Technology, Monash University, Australia. Her thesis involves developing an information-theoretic framework for protein sequence-structure alignment. Dinithi is the recipient of the prestigious 2019 Ian Lawson Van Toch Memorial Award for the best student paper, at the joint 27th Annual Conference on Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology and the 18th European Conference on Computational Biology.

What are you currently working on and What encouraged you to pursue this topic?

Where do you find your best inspiration for your work?

What do you hope to achieve with your research?

What’s one of your biggest personal achievements so far?

What motivates you to be a researcher?

What are the changes the Sri Lankan education system needs to meet the requirement of high tech industries?

How do you find life as a PhD student?

The research basically involves seeking currently unsolved problems to solve and places to improve. This also involves communicating our findings and solutions to the global research community through technical presentations & publications. Every day we learn something new, gaining a new career and life perspectives.

PhD does not have to be a lonely endeavour, especially when you are part of an inspiring research group with a culture that encourages regular intellectual discussions and achievement. Such an environment is influential in developing ourselves as independent researchers. It is a truly satisfying journey of learning and training when you are under the right supervision, guidance, and mentorship. So choosing the right supervisors & the right place for your PhD is crucial. You will see yourself gradually growing as an individual with diverse skills and a creative mindset.

Can we have a work-life balance as female PhD students?

What kind of preparation is preferable before applying for a PhD?

During this time, learn as much as you can. Make the most out of research related modules. Research internships, Masters research programs are good ways to obtain more exposure to your interested field prior to applying for a PhD. When we get to understand the nature of literature and go through all the essential stages of a short term research project, it will help you get a flavour of the life as a researcher, while shaping your skills desirable for a PhD candidature. It is also a perfect way to get self-realization when deciding the next step of your career.

PhD is a journey to undertake for the right reasons. It is about getting trained to become an active researcher and scholar in a particular field. In research, we carefully look at current knowledge, select a topic and go deeply into identifying places where we can push boundaries.

When searching for an opportunity…

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