Personal Information                                                                  
Name - Ishara Premathilake
Designation - Probationary Lecturer
Gender - Female
Civil Status - Married                                                                   
     

Professional achievements & Activities

  • Lecturer (probationary) Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine , Colombo. 
  • Senior Registrar in Medical Virology 

Education & Training (Degrees Diplomas etc)

  • M.B, B.S (Colombo)- 2nd class upper division  
  • Post graduate diploma in Medical Microbiology (2014)
  • Post Graduate Certificate in Medical Education (2017)
  • MD in Medical Virology (2017)
  • Applied Sciences Stream– First Class
  • Introductory Basic Sciences Stream – Second Class Upper Division
  • Behavioral Sciences Stream – Second Class Upper Division
  • Community Medicine-– Second Class Upper Division
  • Clinical Sciences Stream-– Second Class Lower Division
  • Distinction in Parasitology

CAREER PLAN

My very first dream of becoming a medical doctor was fulfilled when I entered the Colombo Medical faculty in year 2000. After passing out with 2nd class upper honours and a gold medal for parasitology, I started my carrier as a temporary demonstrator in department of pathology where I sensed the taste of research and medical teaching.

I developed a strong interest in virology as my future career path and I also wanted to be more innovative than just to practice what I had learned so far. I started my postgraduate training in 2012 and completed the Diploma in Medical Microbiology course being the first in the merit order and winning the Tissa Vitarana Gold Medal for the most outstanding performance.

I chose Medical Virology as my MD course. This was a budding field in Sri Lanka and I thought I could contribute much for its development locally. I also started my academic carrier by this time by joining my alma-matar, Colombo Medical Faculty as a probationary lecturer in microbiology, which I thought as a good opportunity to reach new heights in my field. I worked at many leading teaching hospitals, campaigns and at the Medical Research Institute, Colombo which gave me equal opportunities of gaining clinical and practical expertise. I worked hard to make the most of each learning opportunity I came across and to improve myself each day. I completed my MD/Medical Virology in 2017. At the same time I completed a post-graduate certificate course in medical Education, conducted by the Post Graduate Institute of Medicine, University of Colombo.

I had an interest in research since my medical school days. My dissertation project on BK virus was a new topic for Sri Lanka and raised much interest and awareness in the medical community. I am further involved in studying seroprevalence of measles and varicella immunity and plan to expand the research with the help of experts.

As medical virology is a fairly young field in Sri Lanka I feel I have a prime responsibility of bringing in new knowledge to the country and to build up virologic services in the country. Overseas training is a mandate for board certification as a Medical Virologist. It will be a great opportunity for me to get an experience in practise of medical virology in a near ideal set-up, which will be invaluable in my future practise. My final goal is to become a MD-PhD holder, an ideal combination to serve as a clinician, academician and a researcher.

HONORS, AWARDS & GRANTS

Awards

  • Gladys Jayawardena Gold Medal for Parasitology awarded by University of Colombo.
  • Tissa Vitarana Gold Medal for Diploma in Medical Microbiology
  • Daphne Attygalle prize for the best paper in cancer (Annual Scientific Sessions, Sri Lanka Medical Association (2008).
  • Prize for the best paper presented at Annual Scientific Sessions, Sri Jayawardenapura General Hospital (2008)
  • Best results in biological science section (Advanced Level 1999, Visakha Vidyalaya, Colombo)

Grants

  • MRI Research Grant for the study “Prevalence and associated factors of BK virus viriuria and viraemia in post renal transplant patients in National Hospital of Sri Lanka.”  (2014).
  • National Research Council grant for “Sero-prevalence of anti- measles and anti-varicella IgG and factors associated with immunity in pregnant mothers attending antenatal clinics of De Soyza Maternity Hospital, Sri Lanka.” (2016)

RESEARCH WITH ABSTRACTS 

  • Prevalence of hypothyroidism in a Sri Lankan population with dyslipidaemia Premathilake MIP, Premathilake PR, Wijesundere Anula Presented at the Annual Scientific Sessions, Sri Jayawardenapura General Hospital (2008) and won the prize for the best paper.
  • Serum prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels in Sri Lankan males with carcinoma of prostate. Lokuhetty MDS, Wijesinghe HD, Premathilake MIP, Abeysuriya D, Samarasinghe U, Perera N Presented at the Annual Scientific Sessions, Sri Lanka Medical Association (2008)
  • Prevalence of lupus anticoagulant among patients with vascular thrombosis and pregnancy morbidity Premathilake PR, Perera MI, Gooneratne LV, Tudawe MN Poster presentation at the Annual Scientific Sessions , Sri Lanka Medical Association (2008)
  • An analysis of pre donation deferral of blood donors–A single centre experience. Premathilake PR, Perera MIPoster presentation at the Annual Scientific Session , Sri Lanka Medical Association (2011)
  • Comparison of BK virus viriuria and viraemia in post renal transplant patients – A single centre study. Premathilake MIP, Jayamaha CJS. Oral presentation at Annual Scientific Sessions of Sri Lanka College of Microbiologists (2016) and won the prize for best oral presentation.
  • Detection of BK virus (BKV) in renal transplant recipients in National Hospital of Sri Lanka (NHSL). Premathilake MIP, Jayamaha CJS Poster presentation at the Annual Scientific Session , Sri Lanka Medical Association (2016).
  • Prevalence and associated factors of BK virus viruria and viraemia among post renal transplant patients in National Hospital of Sri Lanka (NHSL). MIP Premathilake – MD Medical Virology dissertation 2017

Workshops & Training programs 

  • Design and Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials held on August 27, 2007 organized by The Sri Lanka Medical Association, MEDARC Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo and The South Asian Cochrain Network.
  • “Developing facilitation skills to conduct Small Group Discussions and Problem Based Learning Tutorials” held on January 31, 2007 organized by Medical Education Development and Research Centre, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo.
  • Symposium on Vaccines held on October 21, 2012 organized by The Vaccine Forum of Sri Lanka.
  • The Speech Craft Progarm Program conducted by The Colombo Toastmasters Club (5324) from May-July 2015.
  • Two day workshop on real time PCR training conducted by Centres for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) USA at Medical Research Institute, Colombo on, February 11and 12, 2014.
  • Symposium on Vaccines 2014, 2016 and 2017 organized by The Vaccine Forum of Sri Lanka.
  • A one week workshop from February 17-23, 2016 on “How to Get Your Research Published” conducted by the Post Graduate institute of Medicine, University of Colombo.
  • Workshop on Dissertation Writing organized by the Post Graduate institute of Medicine, University of Colombo, held on June 04, 2014.
  • Pre-Congress session on “Advances in Immunology : Implications for Vaccination” at the 127th Anniversary International Medical Congress of the Sri Lanka Medical Association held on July 15, 2014.
  • Workshop on Quality Indicators in Health Related Infections organized by the Sri Lanka College of Microbiologists held on October 28, 2014.
  • Workshop on e-Based learning organized by the Sri Lanka College of Microbiologists held on February 18, 2016.

APPOINTMENTS 

  • Lecturer (probationary) Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine , Colombo. [Undergraduate teaching activities such as small group discussions, tutorials, integrated ward classes and lectures]
  • Registrar in Medical Virology [Involved in virological diagnostic   isolation carried out at the Medical Research Institute (current place of attachment), Competent in performing real time PCR, ELISA, virus isolation using cell culture technique and bed side tests as immunochromatographic tests,Advising clinicians regarding specimen collection and transport of specimens for virologic investigations, result interpretation and patient care.,Involved in lab based teaching activities for MLT and diploma in microbiology trainees, Contributed to carry out research at the same set-up] 
  • Served ministry of health as a medical officer/ blood bank, DGH Negombo  ( 2009 March-2012 September)
  • Relief House officer /Medicine at Sri Jayawardenapura General Hospital, Nugegoda (2008 October-2009 March)
  • Intern medical officer in Medicine and surgery (2007October-2008 October)
  • Medical appointment under the supervision of Prof. Anula Wijesundere(MD,FRCP), Consultant physician.
  • Surgical appointment under the supervision of Dr. Gamini Gunathilake(MS, FRCS),Consultant  Surgeon.
  • Temporary Demonstrator in Department of Pathology (2006 January-2006 October)
  • Procurement assistant at IBM Sri Lanka 2000 February-2000 December

MEMBERSHIPS

  • Sri Lanka College of Microbiologists
  • Sri Lankan Society for Microbiology
  • Allergy and Immunology Society of Sri Lanka
  • Secretary, National Task Force for Containment of Poliovirus type 2 in Sri Lanka. Committee member, appointed by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the WHO.
  • Executive committee member, Cancer Care Association, Sri Lanka (2014-2015, 2015-2016, 2016- 2017)

POSTS HELD - Current/most recent appointment

01) From 16/01/2014 to 16/03/2014 - Registrar in Medical Virology- National Influenza centre, Department of Virology, Medical Research Institute (MRI), Colombo - Respiratory viruses-

Available assays included multiplex real-time PCR for influenza viruses and other respiratory viruses and Direct fluorescence test for the same. Influenza laboratory surveillance system was also operated at the same facility. I got involved in routine diagnostic assays for above, test selection and in advising clinicians in specimen collection and transport and patient management. I also got involved in outbreak management in influenza and sharing data through ’flunet’.

02) From 17/03/2014 to 18/05/2014 - Registrar in Medical Virology- Department of Virology, Medical Research Institute (MRI), Colombo- Hepatitis viruses

Tests included serologic profile for hepatitis B, serology for hepatitis C and A. viral load assays later became available for hepatitis B and C. My duties were to select tests with the given clinical history, counselling patients and referring them for further management when necessary and giving clinical advices to clinicians especially following accidental exposures.

03) From 19/05/2014 to 27/07/2014- Registrar in Medical Virology- Department of Virology, Medical Research Institute (MRI), Colombo- Dengue/arboviruses

The available tests were dengue IgM and IgG, dengue PCR with subtyping (not for routine use) and dengue NS1 rapid test. I got involved in quality control and verification processes for the serologic tests. I also conducted several audits, presentations and journal clubs while continuing my routine work which included test selection, laboratory work and liaison with clinicians. 

04) From 28/07/2014 to 10/08/2014- Registrar in Medical Virology- Infection control workshop

The workshop included 30 hours of face-to-face learning on hospital infection control activities, and how these are carried out in Sri Lanka. The workshop included lectures on sterilization and disinfection, waste disposal, safety precautions and outbreak management, including the epidemiology of hospital outbreaks and molecular techniques for outbreak investigation. Special emphasis was given to problem areas like operating theatres, intensive care units, premature baby units, endoscopy units, dental clinics and blood banks. During the workshop, had to critically analyze the observations and make presentations at the end of the appointment.

05) From 11/08/2014 to 07/09/2014- Registrar in Medical Virology- National STD and AIDS Control Program, De Saram place, Colombo 10

NSACP is the premier center handling all sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS in Sri Lanka. It includes both patient care and laboratory facilities. My role was to observe patient presentations and clinical management at the clinic set up. Separated clinics were conducted for patients with or suspected to have sexually transmitted infections and for those on treatment for HIV infection. I observed the simple procedures as giving cryotherapy, patient counseling especially pre-test and post-test counseling for HIV testing, counseling health care workers who have presented after accidental exposures and starting ART prophylaxis for them.

06) From 08/09/2014 to 21/09/2014- Registrar in Medical Virology- National Blood Transfusion Service, Elvitigala Road, Narahenpita, Sri Lanka

The microbiology laboratory of NBTS is an accredited laboratory which offered serologic and molecular screening assays to detect blood borne viruses and syphilis. I learnt about the accreditation process and observed the laboratory set up and procedures. I also learnt further about transfusion transmitted infections and blood processing to separate different blood components. 

07) From 22.09.2014 to 05.10.2014- Registrar in Medical Virology- Department of Immunology, MRI

This two week appointment included direct teaching, active learning through presentations made to peers, clinical assessment of patients presented to immunology clinic, MRI and observation of laboratory tests.

08) From 06.10.2014 to 02.11.2014- Registrar in Medical Virology- Genetech, 54, Kithulwatte road, Colombo 08, SriLanka

This was an appointment at pioneer private sector molecular laboratory. I got hands-on experience on conventional PCR and learnt about different extraction protocols other than silicon column extraction which was commonly used at MRI

09) From 03.11.2014 to 16.11.2014- Registrar in Medical Virology- Epidemiology unit, De Saram’s place, Colombo 10, Sri Lanka

This was a two week appointment, which was largely a direct teaching session. I learnt about the current surveillance programs in Sri Lanka o and about notification systems.

10) From 22.06.2015 to 16.10.2015- Registrar in Medical Virology- Research Project conducted at MRI and NHSL

I conducted my research on “Prevalence and associated factors of BK virus viraemia and viruria, among renal transplant recipients of National Hospital of Sri Lanka”. There were 136 patients who were within two years of transplantation, who were included. I collected blood and urine samples and tested them for BK virus DNA by real-time PCR assay. I presented the research findings at two scientific conferences and published as my MD dissertation.

11) From 19.10.2015 to 15.11.2015- Registrar in Medical Virology- Lady Ridgeway Hospital (LRH) for Children, Colombo 08, Sri Lanka.

LRH is a leading tertiary care centre and a teaching hospital dedicated to paediatric patients. Its bed strength exceeds 900 and considered to be the largest children’s hospital in the world.

Responsibilities ;

  • Clinical Virology work with special emphasis on paediatric population  (Attending referrals from wards and ICU during word rounds under the supervision of Consultant Microbiologist)
  • Laboratory diagnostic work (review and validation of laboratory reports)
  • Infection control activities (work as a member of the infection control team in infection control activities like staff education, patient education and surveillance and outbreak control)

13) From 16.11.2015 to 13.12.2015- Registrar in Medical Virology- Apeksha hospital (National Cancer Institute) Maharagama, Sri Lanka

Responsibilities ;

  • Clinical Virology work with special emphasis on patients on anticancer treatment (Attending referrals from wards and ICU during word rounds under the supervision of Consultant Microbiologist)
  • Laboratory diagnostic work (review and validation of laboratory reports)
  • Infection control activities (work as a member of the infection control team in infection control activities like staff education, patient education and surveillance and outbreak control)

14) From 21.12.2015 to 31.01.2016- Registrar in Medical Virology- Regional Reference Laboratory for polio/enteroviruses (RRL) Department of Virology, MRI. 

The polio RRL carried out poliovirus isolation in L20B and RD cell lines, real-time PCR for intra-typic differentiation and VDPV screening (Vaccine Derived Polio Virus) except for Type 2 polio virus.

Responsibilities ;

  • Validation, interpretation, documentation and communication of test results
  • Update laboratory database

15) From 01.02.2016 to 31.03.2016- Registrar in Medical Virology- Mumps, measles and rubella- Department of Virology, MRI. 

Available assays were serology for mumps, measles and rubella. I validated, interpreted and issued reports for the above investigations. I also got actively involved in the notification procedures which were carried out as a part of measles and congenital rubella syndrome elimination programs.

16) From 01.04.2016 to 31.05.2016 - Registrar in Medical Virology- Herpes and encephalitis viruses- Department of Virology, MRI.

Available assays were real-time PCR for herpes simplex and varicella zoster viruses (HSV and VZV) and serology for HSV and Japanese encephalitis virus.

I was involved in validating and interpreting assays, providing clinical advices and educating clinicians on proper specimen collection and transport procedures.

17) From 01.06.2016 to 30.06.2016- Registrar in Medical Virology- Gastroenteritis causing viruses- Department of Virology, MRI.

My work was mainly focused on rotavirus surveillance program. The assay used was an Enzyme Linked Immunosorbant Assay for detection of rotavirus antigen in stools. I had hands-on experience in this assay and actively got involved in data processing

18) From 01.07.2016 to 31.07.2016- Registrar in Medical Virology- CMV/ EBV laboratoryDepartment of Virology, MRI, Colombo 08, Sri Lanka 

Responsibilities ;

  • Validation and interpretation of laboratory investigations including serology and real-time PCR 
  • Hands-on experience on the same 
  • Providing clinical advices for clinicians
  • Development of protocols
19) From 01.08.2016 to 31.08.2016- Registrar in Medical Virology- Department of Rabies and vaccine QC, MRI,Colombo 08, Sri Lanka 

Responsibilities ;

  • Validation and interpretation of assays including fluorescent antibody test, PCR and direct smears
  • Providing advice and information on rabies pre/post exposure prophylaxis and queries on immunization under the supervision of Consultant Virologists/Vaccinlogists
20) From 01.09.2016 to 30.09.2016- Registrar in Medical Virology- Department of Molecular Biology, Medical Research Institute (MRI), Colombo 08, Sri Lanka
 
The molecular diagnostic assays for most of the organisms were carried out in the Department of Molecular Biology, which had a dedicated molecular diagnostic facility. I observed the uni-directional workflow operated in this facility and the strategies employed to minimize PCR contamination. I also observed and got hands on experience in various PCR assays.
 
21) From 01.10.2016 to 31.12. 2016-Registrar in Medical Virology- National Hospital of Sri Lanka (NHSL), Colombo 10, Sri Lanka

NHSL is the largest tertiary referral hospital in Sri Lanka. This comprises of 3356 hospital beds which includes all medical and surgical subspecialties. There are 23 intensive care units dedicated to medical and surgical subspecialties.

Responsibilities ;

  • Clinical Virology work. (Attending referrals from wards and ICU during word rounds under the supervision of Consultant Microbiologist. This involves management of infections in patients with an array of underlying pathologies including post transplant patients)
  • Advising clinical colleagues about clinical matters regarding individual patients or incidents
  • Laboratory diagnostic work (review, validation and authorisation of laboratory reports)
  • Infection control activities (work as a member of the infection control team in infection control activities like staff education, patient education and surveillance and outbreak control)
  • Preparation or review of protocols; policy development
  • Validating and trouble-shooting of investigations
  • Research and audit
  • Participation of CMEs as recourse person
22) From 01.01.2017 to 31.03.2017- Registrar in Medical Virology- Sri Jayawardenapura General Hospital (SJGH), Nugegoda, Sri Lanka.

SJGH is a teaching hospital and a postgraduate training center with 1088 hospital beds and 32 ICU beds.

Responsibilities ;

  • Clinical Virology work(Attending referrals from wards and ICU during word rounds under the supervision of Consultant Microbiologist)
  • Laboratory diagnostic work
  • Infection control activities (work as a member of the infection control team in infection control activities like staff education, patient education and surveillance and outbreak control)
  • Health education activities for healthcare workers.
  • Development of Standard Operating Procedures
  • Attending multidisciplinary team meetings
23) From 01.04.2017 to 30.04.2017 - Registrar in Medical Virology- National STD and AIDS Control Program (NSACP), Desaram’s place, Colombo10, Sri Lanka

           Responsibilities ;

  • Collaboration with clinicians in providing laboratory diagnostic services and patient management
24) From 01.05 .2017 to  03.12.2017 - Lecturer (probationary) in Microbiology - Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Kynsey road, Colombo 10, Sri Lanka - The Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, established in 1870 is the oldest and largest medical school in Sri Lanka. The curriculum was based on a module system

           Responsibilities:

  • As a lecturer my main responsibility was educating students. Teaching activities included lectures, clinical lecture demonstrations, practical, small group discussions and integrated ward classes.
  • Supporting development of educational material.
  • Responsibilities as an assessor included setting up questions on relevant areas.
  • Actively conducting research and continuous professional development.
  • Supporting administrative tasks and planning projects for development of the department
  •  Clinical Microbiology responsibilities include validation of reports and supervision of bench work. 
25) From 04.12.2017 to 04.02.2018 - Senior Registrar in Medical Virology - Department of Rabies and Vaccine Quality Control, Medical Research Institute, Colombo- This is the national reference centre for rabies and the national control laboratory for vaccine quality control. Diagnostic assays available for rabies are; direct smear for Negri bodies, fluorescent antibody test, real-time RT PCR, immunochromatographic assay and mouse imnnoculation test. The Rapid Fluorescent Focal Inhibition test for detection of rabies antibody titre is also available.

            Responsibilities:

  • Interpretation, validation and trouble-shooting of investigations
  • Providing advices regarding pre/post exposure prophylaxis for rabies and specimen collection/transport for clinicians and directly referred patients.
  • Support surveillance activities and data processing
  • Provide clinical advices on vaccination in special situations (splenectomy patients, patients awaiting cochlear implantation, immunocompromised patients, travel vaccination etc.)
  • Validation and authorization of issue of human rabies immunoglobulin for individual hospitals through the Medical Supplies Division, Ministry of Health.
  • Support lot release and vaccine QC procedures.

26) From 05.02.2017 to date - Senior Registrar in Medical Virology- Apeksha hospital, Maharagama (formarly, the National Cancer Institute) - Apeksha hospital is the premier tertiary referral centre dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of cancer patients in Sri Lanka. The hospital has 21 wards which includes all oncological subspecialties with 831 adult and 123 paediatric inpatient beds.

Responsibilities ;

  • Providing clinical virologic advices to clinicians especially on patients getting chemotherapy and who had undergone/awaiting stem cell transplant.
  • Laboratory diagnostic work (bench rounds, review, validation and authorisation of laboratory reports)
  • Infection control activities (work as a member of the infection control team in infection control activities like staff education, patient education and surveillance and outbreak control)
  • Preparation or review of protocols or Standard Operating Procedures
  • Validating and trouble-shooting investigations
  • Attending and contributing to multidisciplinary team meetings

Contact Information

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Contact No :
               Mobile Phone No +9477 6010964
               Office +94112 695300  Ext: 154