What are you working on at the moment?
I am currently pursuing a PhD in Pathobiology after obtaining a master’s degree in Veterinary Biomedical Sciences. My studies are mainly focused on the discovery and optimization of antiviral therapeutics in cells.
What encouraged you to pursue this topic?
I have always had an interest in infectious diseases and cancer treatment. Virology captured my interest during undergraduate studies and I was keen to be in a graduate research program to learn more of it. At this point, I understand the importance and impact of studying viruses and therapeutics and I consider myself to be extremely fortunate to be able to get into the current program I am in.
What methodology are you using or used for your research?
I am using many of the molecular biology techniques in addition to cell culture, assays to test the effectiveness of antiviral drugs and next-generation sequencing.
Where are you currently based?
I am a doctoral student in the Department of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine in Kansas State University.
Where do you find your best inspiration for your work?
My biggest inspiration is the work of my mentors throughout my academic life. I am constantly learning from them and they guide me to be a better researcher by helping me improve technical skills and broaden the understanding of science.
What do you hope to achieve with your research?
The ultimate achievement is to develop successful therapeutic strategies for pathogenic virus infections in both humans and animals.
Can you share with us some of your publications?
Sure, you can access them via the following link.
What’s one of your biggest personal achievements so far?
Personally, I have been fortunate throughout my academic life so far, although entering the path to become a virologist was very challenging due to my prior research background. I aspire to become a successful human being beyond academic achievements and to contribute to the betterment of the society and the environment we live in.
What lessons would you share with a budding researcher?
A true researcher understands that research does not always lead to success, but success is a result of many failures. There would be many challenges and rejections, but if you are truly determined, none of these will hinder your path towards success. Therefore, finding a good mentor who can guide you through failures and challenges is extremely important.
What motivates you to be a researcher?
Being a researcher provides you with a unique opportunity of making discoveries that hold the key to future developments. Basically, research helps you to improve the world we live in and being a part of it motivates me.
What are the changes the Sri Lankan education system needs to meet the requirement of high tech industries?
The availability of resources, research opportunities and awareness on global research trends are extremely limited for young researchers in Sri Lanka and a significant proportion of students graduating from local universities face these limitations. Those who can secure a position in international research institutions migrate while those who remain struggle to pursue their research interests or completely deviate from research reluctantly. I think Sri Lankan researchers based in other countries should take an initiative to help young researchers and provide opportunities for them to be exposed to global developments. This could be through workshops, sponsorship, internships, seminars or scientific meetings for instance. This would also help implement networking and more collaborations to advance current research facilities.