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Dr. Varuni Gunathilake

B.Sc. (USJP), Ph.D. (Colombo)
Senior Lecturer 
varunig@sjp.ac.lk 
Research Interests: Marine Biotechnology, Immunology, Sponge identification and taxonomy

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Qualifications:

    • B. Sc. (Special) degree in Zoology, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka
    • Ph.D., University of Colombo, Sri Lanka

Special Achievements/Awards:

  • Best oral presentation of the biannual sessions of 42nd proceedings of Allergy and Immunology society of Sri Lanka, 2016

Scholarships / Fellowships:

  • HETC scholarship for university academics to read PhD
  • OSTP travel grant of National Science Foundation for overseas training in University of Genova, Italy on sponge taxonomy

Research projects:

  • Post graduate: Molecular characterization, isolation and chemical characterization of Haliclona (Soestella) sp, a novel Sri Lankan marine sponge species.
  • Undergraduate: In vitro anti-inflammatory activity of a few selected Sri Lankan marine sponge species

Research publications:

  1. Varuni K Gunathilake (2017) Marine bacteria and fungi as sources for bioactive compounds:  Present status and future trends, International Journal of Advanced Research ,Vol 5, (10).
  2. Varuni K Gunathilake, Marco Bertolino, Giorgio Bavestrello & Preethi V Udagama (2017) Immunomodulation by Haliclona (Soestella) sp (Haploclerida: Chalinidae), a Sri Lankan marine sponge species in Wistar rats: Immune cell profiles, in vivo and ex vivo cytokine profiles and phagocytosis, Submitted to the journal of marine Biotechnology, Springer.
  3. Aedes mosquito survey within the premises of University ofSri Jayewardenepura to determine its population density andseasonal shift in relative abundance.Vidyodaya Journal of Science. 2012; 15.

Abstracts presented at international scientific fora:

  1. Gunathilake V K, Bertolino M, Bavestrello G, Ratnasooriya W D, de Silva D and Udagama P V (2017). Taxanomic identification, Immuno pharmacological and Toxicological study of Haliclona (Soes tella) sp: A novel marine sponge species from Sri Lanka. 17th world sponge conference Ireland.
  2. Gunathilake V K, Ratnasooriya W D and Udagama P V (2015). Immunomodulation of some selected cytokines in wistar rats by a crude extract of Haliclona (Soestella)sp: A Sri Lankan marine demosponge. Drug Discovery and Therapy World congress. Boston, USA.
  3. Gunathilake V K and Udagama P V (2016). Immuno supressive and anti-cancer activity of a novel Sri Lanka marine sponge, Haliclona (Soestella)sp. 12th Euro Biotechnology Congress.  Alicante, Spain

Abstracts presented in local scientific fora:

  • Gunathilake, VK, Ratnasooriya, WD, Udagama PV(2013). Free radical scavenging effect of a few selected Sri Lankan marine sponges (Demospongiae). Proceeding of the Annual Reseach Symposium, University of Colombo, Pp 191
  • Gunathilake, VK, Ratnasooriya, WD, Udagama PV(2013). Immunomodulatory activity of Sri Lanka Demospongiae  Marine sponge species (Class Demospongiea): A Pilot Study. Proceedings of the69th Annual sessions of the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science, Pp 89.
  • Gunathilake VK, Ratnasooriya WD, De Voogd NJ and Udagama P. (2014). Neopetrosia sp, a marine sponge from Sri Lanka with immunomodulatory activities. Higher Education for the Twnty First Century Symposium. Pp107.
  • Gunathilake VK, Ratnasooriya WD, De Voogd NJ and Udagama P. (2014). In vivo and in vitro inflammatoryactivity of Neopetrosia sp, a marine sponge crude extract in a rat model. Proceedings of the 34th Annual sessions of Institute of Biology, Sri Lanka. Pp42
  • Gunathilake V K, Ratnasooriya W D and Udagama PV (2015). Modulation of in vitro phagocytic activity, cell proliferation and cytokine production in the Wistar rat model by a Sri Lankan Haliclona(Soestella) sp sponge crude extract. Proceedings of the 35th Annual Sessions of the Institute of Biology,Pp 29
  • Gunathilake V K, Ratnasooriya W D and Udagama P V (2015). Anti inflammatory activity of Haliclona (Soestella) sp marine sponge crude extract  in  murine models: inhibition of pro inflammatory cytokines and leukocyte migration.Proceedings of the Annual Research Symposium , University of Colomb, 2015 Pp 112.
  • Gunathilake VK and Udagama P V (2016). Acute inflammatory and cancer chemopreventive activity of Haliclona (Soestella) sp crude extract: A novel Sri Lankan marine sponge species. Allergy & Immunology Society of Sri Lanka, 8th Biennial Scientific Sessions. Pp27. (won second prize for presentations in Basic Immunology)

Postgraduate supervision:

  • 2017
    • Student: Ms Shakila Rathnayake
    • Research project: Molecular characterization, isolation and chemical characterization of Haliclona (Soestella) sp , a novel Sri Lankan marine sponge species.
    • Degree registered for: M.Phil. (Applied)

Membership in Professional Societies:

Assistant treasurer of Sri Lanka Association for Laboratory Animal Science (SLALAS)

(Last updated on 11th October, 2017)