Vice Chancellor’s award for research excellence 2020 – Prof. Deepika Fernando, Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo

Professor Sumadhya Deepika Fernando MBBS, MD, PhD is a Senior Professor and a Board Certified Specialist in Parasitology. She joined the Department of Parasitology as a Lecturer in 1995 and rose up in rank to be appointed as Professor on merit in 2008. In addition to that she has held many posts in the Faculty including that of Chairperson of the Research and Higher Degrees Committee.
Professor Fernando has an impressive track record on malaria research having carried out some seminal work for her PhD as a World Health Organisation/Tropical Disease Research grantee on the impact of malaria on the cognitive performance of the school child. She completed her postdoctoral training at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics at the University of Oxford in the UK.
Prof. Fernando has over 135 publications in peer-reviewed journals with a h-index of 20. Her work has been cited over 2760 times. She has received numerous research awards including the President’s Award for Research Excellence on 15 occasions, University of Colombo Award for Excellence in Research in 2006 & 2017, and the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Directors Award for the Most Outstanding Junior Researcher in Health Sciences in 2006.
Since 2008 she has played a significant role in developing research capacity with regards to malaria research in the country by supervising several postgraduate research students while securing highly competitive grants including funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Prof. Fernando was a key member of the Technical Support Group that was established by the Ministry of Health to drive the efforts towards elimination of malaria in the Country. The efforts of the group resulted in Sri Lanka being certified as having eliminated malaria in 2016. The first tropical country to do so. The group now serves as an advisory body on the prevention of reintroduction of malaria to the country to keep us all safe.
Vice Chancellor Sir, I am pleased to present to you an academic and researcher par excellence in the field of Medicine, Professor Deepika Fernando for the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Research Excellence of the Faculty of Medicine for the year 2020.