VAJIRA KAUSHALYA WEERASEKARA
No 212, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Wymount Terrace, C100, BNSN Building
Provo, Brigham Young University
UT 84604 Provo, UT 84602
2012 PhD. Biochemistry, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Brigham Young University (2012- Present)
2010 BSc. Special degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Second Class Honours (Upper Division), University of Colombo, Sri Lanka (2006-2010).
Teaching and Research Experience
2012 August-Present: Graduate Student in Biochemistry
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, USA
? Mentor – Dr. J.L. Andersen
? Research Focus – We study the interface of cancer metabolism and apoptosis using proteomics and molecular approaches to understand the mechanism by which cells gain resistance to chemotherapy.
2012 April-Present: Lecturer Molecular Biology (Probationary)
Department of Chemistry, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka – on study leave for PhD at Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, USA
2011 July-2012 April: Research Assistant
Biotechnology section, Industrial Technology Institute, 363 Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 7, Sri Lanka
? Genetic barcoding of Cinnamomum zeylanicum using three universal plant barcoding regions approved by the Consortium for Barcoding of Life (CBOL).\
? The project was completed and acquisition numbers from Gene Bank for the data were received, ? BankIt1491597 ITICZ003-11.matK - JN988465 ? BankIt1491597 ITICZ001-11.matK - JN988466 ? BankIt1491599 ITICZ002-11.rbcL - JN988468
? BankIt1491598 ITICZ002-11.trnH-psbA - JN988467
? Trehalose Project – Objective is to increase Trehalose content in rice plants by introducing otsA and otsB fusion gene into rice genome.
? Development and optimization of PCR based assay for the identification of GMO crops.
? Development and optimization of PCR based assay to determine rice flour percentage in bakery products manufactured in combination with rice and wheat flour.
2010 November- 2011 July: Temporary Demonstrator (Teaching Assistant)
Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka
2010 August -2010 October: Industrial Trainee
Molecular Forensics Division, Genetech Molecular Diagnostics, Colombo, Sri Lanka
2009 October – 2010 July: Undergraduate Research Project
Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Title: - Development of positive control constructs for RT-PCR based detection of BCR-ABL fusion gene transcripts in chronic myeloid leukemia.
Mentor: - Dr. N.V. Chandrasekaran
Grade obtained: - A+
The research was focused on developing positive control constructs for the Reverse transcriptase – polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) based molecular diagnostic assay for the detection of gene rearrangements, mainly in fusion gene transcripts resulting from chromosomal translocations in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia. As the initial step we have concentrated on developing a fusion construct for the Philadelphia chromosomes’ BCR-ABL p210 fusion transcript of Major breakpoint cluster region (M-bcr), which can be used as a positive control. The RT-PCR amplified fragments of two translocation partners were to be fused via an intron with strong splice sites (from the Glyceraldehyde 3’ phosphate dehydrogenase gene) using fusion PCR. The intron was included in the construct mainly as a control for the reverse transcription reaction.
Other Skills and Experience:
? DNA-isolation from cells/tissues using kits as well as traditional Phenol/Chloroform extraction
? DNA-isolation from plants using kits as well as traditional CTAB extraction method
? RNA-isolation from cells/tissues using Trizol as well as from kits
? PCR & Reverse Transcriptase-PCR
? Restriction enzyme digestion
? Extraction and purification of DNA from Agarose gels for sequencing
? Preparation of competent and ultra-competent cells using E.coli and Agarobacterium strains
? Separation of DNA for the analysis of Short Tandem Repeats using denaturing polyacrylamide gels
? Southern blot analysis using biotin labeled DNA probes
? Proficient in relevant microbiology techniques
? Proficient in using Bioinformatics resources and software
? Mammalian cell culture and mammalian cell transfection
? Separation of proteins using SDS-PAGE
? Extraction and purification of proteins
? Proficient in clinical biochemistry assays carried out using biological specimens
? Extraction of cell membranes
? Western Blotting
? Co-Immunoprecipitation of protein complexes
? Capable of dealing with convention and instrumentation analytical chemistry techniques.
? Has good practical and theoretical knowledge in Inorganic and Organic chemistry and their reactions
? Has theoretical knowledge and exposure to nanotechnology
? Have used chemistry related software such as Gaussian, RasMol and ChemDraw etc.
? I have several years’ experience in using Microsoft office packages including database management and preparation using MS Access. Also I am proficient in the use of graphical software such as Adobe Photoshop and working with reference databases. Furthermore I am capable of handling bioinformatics related software.
Presentations and Seminars:
I have given many oral presentations as a part of my degree and feel that I am a competent public
Speaker. My presentations are listed below.
1. Stem Cells (2006) – This was a public seminar conducted under the supervision of Dr. G.A.U Jayasekara on brief introduction to stem cells, their properties and therapeutic importance in medicine at Faculty of Science, University of Colombo.
2. Transcription of class III genes (2008) – This was a public seminar conducted under the supervision of Dr. Ranil Dassanayake on the mechanism of the transcription of class III genes at Faculty of Science, University of Colombo.
3. Two-Dimensional Reversed-Phase - Ion-Pair Reversed-Phase HPLC (2009) – This was conducted in the partial fulfillment of the course “Proteomics and Genomics” on high resolution peptide separation for shot-gun proteome analysis at Faculty of Science, University of Colombo.
4. 454 sequencing technology (2009) – This was conducted in the partial fulfillment of the course “Seminar and essay” on the mechanism and applications of next generation DNA sequencing technology at Faculty of Science, University of Colombo.
5. Protein structure prediction and analysis using Robetta server (2010) – This was conducted in the partial fulfillment of the course “Molecular modeling and computer based drug designing” at Faculty of Science, University of Colombo.
? I am a highly motivated, self-driven individual with a highly enthusiastic, energetic and friendly personality. I am very keen towards accepting challenges and responsibilities to achieve successful completion of tasks given under extreme conditions with rapid and effective response. I am a very tolerant person towards criticism and would always open to revise my work upon them or response them depending on the situation. I am an independent worker but also a reliable team player and able to integrate into multi multidisciplinary working environment. I possess very good organizing and co-ordinating skills and I have used them on many occasions towards the benefit of my institution. My extra-curricular activities listed below would define my personal skills more in detail,
1. Captain of the English Debating team of the Department of Chemistry – University of Colombo which placed first in the all – Island inter university debating championship 2010
2. Captain of the fourth year English debating team which placed second at the inter-batch debating competition and awarded as the best captain
3. Member of the fourth year “Sinhala” (native language) debating team which placed third at the inter-batch debating competition and awarded as the best captain
4. Represented the University of Colombo in the Trainee for trusteeship organized by the Weeramanthri International Center for Peace Education and Research (WICPER) in 2007
5. Participated as a resource person in molecular biology for the training program for trainees in conservation of Willpattu National Park organized by the WICPER under Hon Judge Prof C.G Weeramanthri
6. Chief organizer of the Musical event – Sunil Edirisinghe Ghandharvabhinandhanaya 2010 – for the fund raising event for the biotechnology laboratory – Department of Chemistry in collaboration with Art Council – University of Colombo
7. Secretary of the college Science Society – co-chief organizer of the college science day – Kingswood College, Kandy – 2004 – 2005
8. Committee member of Computer society, Drug prevention unit, Electronic society – Kingswood College Kandy – 2004 - 2005
9. Was awarded the Certificate of Accomplishment Kingswood College Award for the Excellence in Education in 2003 and 2006
10. Best actor, Best speaker, and Award for the Best overall – performance and member of the drama team which placed first in the English literacy day competitions 2005
1. British College for Applied Studies
Diploma in English – 2005 – Distinction Pass
2. IDM Computer Studies (PVT) Ltd
Diploma in Computer Studies (MS office / Java / Visual Basic) – 2002 – Distinction Pass
Date of Birth: - 01st of August 1986
Gender : - Male
Nationality : - Sri Lankan
Dr .N.V Chandrasekaran
Dr. J.L. Andersen
Assistant Professor of Biochemistry
Department of Chemistry
Department of Chemistry and
Faculty of Science
University of Colombo
Brigham Young University,
Provo, UT, 84602
+94 011 2503367(Office)
I declare that the above particulars given by me are true and accurate to the best of my knowledge.
Vajira Kaushalya Weerasekara.