PhD in Biological Sciences (Ecology & Evolutionary Biology), Mississippi State University (2020)
BS in Agriculture (Biotechnology) (Hons.), Wayamba University of Sri Lanka (2012)
Born and bred in a tropical island, Sri Lanka, "Biodiversity" has interested and inspired me throughout my research career. As a research apprentice, I studied the allelic diversity of Sri Lankan traditional aromatic rice varieties. Thereafter, my focus for several years was on the genetic diversity of Orchids. For my dissertation research, I studied the taxonomy, biogeography and floral morphology of Platanthera subgenus Limnorchis (Orchidaceae) using molecular phylogenomics approaches.
With the Smithsonian Biodiversity Genomics Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, my current research at SERC is focused on one of the most important and an enigmatic biotic interactions of Orchids: Orchid Mycorrhizal Associations. I am aiming to understand the signaling between these two groups of species using novel genomic and transcriptomic methods and datasets.
Additionally, I enjoy participating in STEM outreach programs and mentoring future biodiversity scientist.