Keynote Speakers

Prof. Priyani Ashoka Paranagama

University of Kelaniya,
Sri Lanka.

Topic : "Natural Products for Medicines in the 21st century"

Professor Priyani Ashoka Paranagama graduated from the University of Kelaniya in 1986 with an honors degree in Chemistry. She joined the University of Kelaniya in 1990 as an Assistant Lecturer and proceeded to Industrial and Technological Institute to obtain her M.Phil degree in Organic Chemistry in 1991. She obtained her Ph.D. from University of Glasgow in 1994 in the area of Bio Organic Chemistry. After returning to Sri Lanka she initiated her independent research work on natural product chemistry. In 2003 she was promoted as a Professor and subsequently in 2011 as Senior Professor, 2012 to the Chair of Chemistry. She has completed 25 years of service to the University of Kelaniya.In 2005 she spent her sabbatical leave at University of Arizona, USA researching on Secondary Metabolites of endophytic fungi. From 2009 to 2012 she served as the Head of the Department of Chemistry, University of Kelaniya. She is a fellow of Institute of Chemistry, Ceylon and Chartered Chemist (CChem), Royal Society of Chemistry. She is a member of several professional bodies in Sri Lanka.

She participated the conference organized by The World Academy of Science (TWAS) on shaping careers in Science in 2016 and Prof. Paranagama percolated this conference as one of the 40 outstanding scientists from developing countries who came to Trieste to discuss how that first bit of international funding propelled not just their careers, but science in their home countries. Moreover, she was awarded the Dr. C.L de Silva Gold medal for outstanding research in Chemical Sciences in 2015 and the M U S Sultanbawa gold medal for achievements in her research career in 2008. She is a recipient of several national and international research grants and got several honors and awards. She has published over 43 research papers in indexed journals, written or edited 7 books and published over 80 communications.

She has successfully supervised over 14 postgraduate students and is currently supervising eight postgraduate students in many different areas of chemistry ranging from isolation and characterization of natural products, analysis of spices and essential oils, value addition of natural products and toxicity of trace metals. Her research interests are isolation and characterization of bioactive natural products from plants and endolichenic fungi, development of biopesticides, value addition of natural products and toxicity of trace metals.

Dr. Gareth Williams
School of Pharmacy,
University College London
Topic : “Polymer Nano-materials for Drug Delivery and Tissue Engineering”

Gareth received a MChem (Hons) degree from the University of Oxford in 2002. He remained in Oxford for a DPhil (PhD) in materials chemistry, which was completed in 2005. Gareth then spent three years working in science programme management, before returning to Oxford to take up a post-doctoral position in 2009. In September 2010 he joined London Metropolitan University as a Senior Lecturer in Pharmaceutical Science, and in November 2012 was appointed to the UCL School of Pharmacy as a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Pharmaceutics. He was promoted to Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in 2016. Gareth leads a group of around 15 researchers working on a range of topics in drug delivery and vaccine formulation, with a particular emphasis on the use of electrohydrodynamic approaches to develop solid dispersions and the use of inorganic nanomaterials in biomedicine. He is also the Programme Leader for the UCL MSc programmes in Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Formulation & Entrepreneurship.

Dr. Rohini M. de Silva
University of Colombo
Sri Lanka.
Topic : "Getting There in a Better Way"

Dr. Rohini M. de Silva is a Senior Lecturer in Chemistry at the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. She obtained her B.Sc. (Chemistry, First Class) from the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka and Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, UK. She gained postdoctoral experience in Nanotechnology at the Center for Advanced Microstructures and Devices, Louisiana State University, USA. She won the Presidential Research Award for four consecutive years and a National Research Award presented by National Science Foundation (NSF), Sri Lanka. She is a member of the National Committee for popularization of science at NSF. Recently she received a Rs. 50 million ($ 350,000) grant from the National Research Council for the development of advanced materials for water purification.


Dr. Laksiri Weerasinghe
Senior Research Scientist,
Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology (SLINTEC), Sri Lanka

Dr. Jayantha Wijayabandara
Senior Lecturer,
University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka