Sharmila Jayasena, Ph.D (Molecular Biology)

Senior lecturer 


 Academic Record

B.Sc. (University of London)

Ph.D. (University of Colombo)

 Research Interests

  • Inhibition of MicroRNAs by antisense technology : Transfection of hpG2 cells with reporter vector  and dual luciferase reporter assays has been set up and optimized. (University grant 2005:SG19) Ongoing work to transfect microRNA 107/103 which is  upregulated in obesity / hepatic steatosis and testing of novel inhibitor.
  • Microbial Bio-degradation of Polyethene & other hydrocarbons : Microbes cabaple of degrading hexadecane has been isolated and testing of a bacterial - fungal community forming a biofilm efficient in degradation of hexadecane is being analysed. (University Grant 2004: RG12); cloning of gene responsible for hydrocarbon degradation is in progress.
  • Genetics related to  obesity & cardiovascular disease: Analysis of polymorphisms in genes related to appetite regulation and energy homeostasis (Leptin, leptin Receptor, MC4R) is under investigation in young women and girls in urban areas of Colombo/
  • Cloning of Industrially important microbial enzymes: Alkaline protease gene from a thermophillic bacteria has been cloned and expressed. Protein and kinetic analysis currently underway (Msc projects)
  • Formulatin adn nutritional analysis of health snacks : A health snack (cookie) with low glycaemic index has been formulated and nutritional and palatability analysis has been conducted.


  1. J.K. Casinader – Saverimuttu, E.H. Karunanayake, N.V. Chanrasekharan, S.M.T. Jayasena.  Molecular characterizatin of a actin gene of the filarial parasite Wuchereria bancrofti.  International Journal of Parasitology, 2000, 30: 119-124.

  2. S.M.T. Jayasena, N.V. Chandrasekharan, Eric H. Karunanayke. Molecular characterisation of a hsp70 gene from the filarial parasite Setaria digitata. International Journal of Parasitology 1999; 29: 581-591.


  1. S. Vaihunthan,S.S.B.P. Soysa, V.H.W. Dissanayak,  S.M.T. JayasenaTransfection of HepG2 cells with pmirGLO reporter: optimization of dual luciferase reporter assay. ( Accepted for University of Colombo Research Symposium 2016)

  2. Selection of an efficient n-hexadecane degrading fungal –bacterial community Perera S.M.D, Chinthaka S. D. M., Seneviratne P.R.G., Wijesundera W.S.S., Wijayarathna C.D. and Jayasena S.M.T. (accepted for SLAAS 2016)

  3. Udeshi Kulasooriya, Maduka de Lanerollle- Dias, usha hettiarchchi, sharmila jayasena. Formulation of a low glycaemic index helath snak with no added sugar or sweetners. Proceedings of the 12th Asian Congress of Nutrition, May 1015.Pp188; Ps-01-a-115

  4. N. Palpola, S. Jayasena, CPDW Mathew, WSS Wijesundera. Isolation and characterization of alkaline protease gene from native thermostable Bacillus sp. Proceedings of the Annual Research symposium 2014University ofColombo. pp178.Faculty of Medicine,University ofColombo,2014

  5. AHJN Weerakoon, ST Thoradeniya, SMT Jayasena. The leptin receptor gene Q233R single nucleotide polymorphism is not associated with overweight / obesity in urban Sri Lankan women.   Proceedings of the 69th Annual sessions of the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science. 2013 Part I Abstract  113/A pp15.

  6. S.S.K. Narasinghe,S.T. Thoradeniya and S.M.T. Jayasena Lipoprotein lipase gene HindIII polymorphism is associated with serum high density lipoprotein cholesterol in overweight young urban women. Abstracts of the Annual scientific session of Nutrition Society of Sri Lanka 2013.p 21 (Award for Best Presentation)

  7. T.C.J. Senarathne, S.T. Thoradeniya and S. Jayasena Are apparently healthy young urban women inColombo at risk of chronic inflammatory diseases? Abstracts of the Annual scientific session of Nutrition Society of Sri Lanka 2013.p 20

  8. M.S.K Rabindrakumar, S. Jayasena and S.T.Thoradeniya. Serum uric acid: a potential early biomarker of cardiometabolic abnormalities in apparently healthy young urban women  Proceedings of the Nutirional Society.  Abstracts of the Annual scientific session of Nutrition Society of Sri Lanka 2013.p 19   

  9. S. Vaihunthan, W.S.S. Wijesundara, S. M. T. Jayasena, S.R. Sirimanne. Construction of Rice endosperm specific expression cassette containing Glu-B1 promoter-GFP reporter-Nos Terminator by overlap extension PCR.”  Proceedings of the 64th Annual sessions of the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science. 2008 Part I Abstract  413/D pp85.

  10. N P Vidanapathirana, R K M P P Handakumbura, G A U Jayasekera, S M T Jayasena, S R Sirimanne.  Cloning of glutelin B1 promoter from rice - towards the development of wheat-like rice.  Proceedings of the 63rd  Annual sessions of the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science. 2007 Part I Abstract 

  11.  T. Thoradeniya, C. Senanayake, R Wickremasinghe, S Mendis, S. Jayasena, A. Atukorala. Influence of baseline inflammatory status on dietary effects of nutrition counseling in women with and without coronary artery disease. 125th Anniversary International Medical Congress SLMA 2012, OP64. p 46

  12. P Lanerolle, T Thoradeniya, SMT Jayasena, A de Silva, S, Atukorala C Arambepola. Development and validation of food models to aid portion size assessment in the Sri Lanka adolescent diet 10th European Nutrition Conference, 10-13 July 2007 Paris, France.

  13. T Thoradeniya, C Arambepola, RAAN Ranawake, EAP Sarath, A de Silva, SMT Jayasena, S Atukorala,  P Lanerolle. Digital photographs and 2-dimensional drawings to aid portion size estimation in Sri Lankan children : development and validation. 10th European Nutrition Conference 10-13 July 2007 Paris, France.

  14. S.M.T. Jayasena, N.V. Chandrasekharan, E.H. Karunanayake. A heat shock protein 70 gene from the filarial nematode Setaria digitata. Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 16th -20th July 2000. Birmingham, UK.

  15. B.N. Pathiratne, W.S.S Wijesundera, Eric H karunanayake, S.M.T. Jayasena, M.L.K.  Dayanada. Characterization of a heat shock protein 70 gene (hsp70) of Wuchereria bancrofti. Proceedings of the 56th Annual session of the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science. 2000. Pp26, Part I- Abstracts.

  16. W.A.C Wickramathilaka, A Peduruhewa, H.T.M. Perera, S.M.T. Jayasena, D. Maganaarachchi, G. Sirithilak, N.V. Chandrasekharan, E.H. Karunanayake, J. Perera. Development of a PCR based assay for the detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Proceedings of the 56th Annual session of the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science. 2000. Pp25.

  17. Jayasena S.M.T. Chandrasekharan NV, Karunanayake E.H.  Sequence analysis of a hsp70 gene sequence from the filarial parasite Setaria digitata. Proceedings of the 56th Annual session of the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science. 1998. A 34: Pp27.

  18. M.N. Wickramanayake, N.V. Chandrasekharan, S. Ekanayake, Eric H Karunanayake, J.K. Casinader, S.M.T. Jayasena.  A Setaria digitata cDNA encoding the gene for myosin light chain recognized by sera from patients with Bancroftian filariasis. Proceedings of the 56th Annual session of the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science. 1998. A 36: Pp28, Part I- Abstracts.

 Awards and Distinctions

SEDA Accreditation as a teacher in Higher education (2002), Staff & Educational Development Association (SEDA), UK

Award in Recognition of Excellence in Research (2002), University of Colombo

Presidents Research Award, 2000  

Presidents research Award, 1999

Travel fellowship (2000) from the International Union of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, The Biochemical Society and the Federation of European Biochemical Societies to attend the 18th International Congress of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and  the pre-congress ‘Young Scientist Travel Fellowship Symposium’  in Birmingham, UK, 13-20 July 2000


Research Grants

2007 National Science Foundation (Grant No: RG/2007/HS/06) Co-Investigator

 Evaluation of inflammatory markers and Methylene-tetrahydrofolate reductase 677C-T genotype in women with, or without CAD

 2005  National Research Council  (Grant No: 05-19) Principle Investigator

   Expression and study of a fatty acid and retinol binding protein (far-1) of the bovine filarial parasite Setaria digitata


 2004 National Science Foundation (Grant No: SIDA/2004/BT/06)Co -investigator

 Cloning of the rice glutelin B-1 promoter –towards the development of a rice endosperm specific expression vector 


 2004 National Science Foundation (Grant No: SIDA/2004/BT/03) Principle Investigator

 Isolation of a gene encoding a nematode-specific fatty acid and retinol-binding protein (far-1) from the filarial parasite Setaria digitata




Conducting lectures, tutorials, practicals and facilitating small group discussions and problem-based learning sessions for medical undergraduates

Supervision of Research projects of the community health module.

Supervision of undergraduate elective projects

Visiting lecturer and examiner,  Special degree in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Faculty of Science, University of Colombo,  (2001-2004)



M.Sc in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (Dept of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology)

M.Sc. Molecular Medicine - evaluation of dissertation (PGIM)



Professional Memberships         

 Member of the Sri Lanka Association for the advancement of Science (SLAAS)