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National Conference on Multidisciplinary Research (NCMR) 2020

Organised by the Young Scientists’ Association of the National Institute of Fundamental Studies, Sri Lanka
(NIFS-YSA)

NIFS

Conference Date

08th October 2020

10th September 2020

Venue

Online Conference

Contact

ysa@nifs.ac.lk

The National Conference on Multidisciplinary Research 2020 is a virtual postgraduate symposium organized by the Young Scientists’ Association of the National Institute of Fundamental Studies. This is the second research symposium organised by the NIFS-YSA. This conference provides an opportunity for postgraduate students and early career researchers to share their research across Sri Lanka on an online platform. The NIFS-YSA invites postgraduate students and early career researchers who have completed a postgraduate degree after 1st July 2017, to submit abstracts under the following themes

Keynote Speaker

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Professor Nilwala Kottegoda

Professor Nilwala Kottegoda, denominated as one of the nine inventive women by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2018 is an eminent woman scientist who is celebrated for her revolutionary invention of urea-hydroxyapatite nanohybrids. She is a professor in chemistry and the head of the department at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka which is the country’s largest department of chemistry, and the former provost at the SLINTEC Academy. In 2020, his excellency the President of Sri Lanka appointed Nilwala as a board member to the board of governors of the National Institute of Fundamental Studies making her the first woman in history to take that position.

She has exhibited exceptional merit by obtaining her first degree at the top of her class and being selected to do her Ph.D. in Materials Chemistry at the University of Cambridge overcoming extraordinary competition coming across the world. Soon after the completion of her Ph.D., she returned to Sri Lanka to extend her services and developed a rewarding research career throughout the past 13 years. She has enormously contributed towards the advancement of inorganic and physical chemistry via three key areas namely the development of nanohybrids for agricultural applications, advanced nano-filter materials for water purification, and value addition to natural minerals. Her excellent commitment to the advancement of science even with limited availability of resources as a scientist coming from a developing country was further acclaimed by the World Academy of Science (TWAS) Young Scientist Award in 2013. Nilwala was head-hunted by the Sri Lankan government and seconded from the university in 2009 to extend her services as a leading chemistry specialist to the founding team of Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology where she developed urea-hydroxyapatite slow-release nanofertilizer as a sustainable solution to elevate crop yields and minimize premature loss of urea. This invention addresses increasing agriculture production to achieve zero hunger, reducing fertilizer usage, and minimizing its environmental implications which are major challenges faced by the world today. She has been successful in commercializing several inventions including this nanofertilizer highlighting the economic importance of her developments. Nilwala’s perpetual passion for uplifting science education and popularizing science among the general public and farmers was appreciated by the “Science Popularization Award” in 2014 from the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science. Her national services to education include but not limited to acting as the chief editor of the school science textbooks, school science, and chemistry curriculum developer at the Ministry of Education, and conducting islandwide science workshops have facilitated upgrading Sri Lankan school science education to suit the 21st century. Nilwala is not just an eminent woman scientist, she is also an innovator, academic, educationist competent administrator, social advocate, creator of knowledge, and a knowledge disseminator who is dedicatedly contributing to achieving multiple United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Guest Speaker

Dr. Hasini Jayatilaka

Hasini Jayatilaka is currently a lead real world data scientist at Tempus labs where she leverages data and artificial intelligence to provide greater insights into tumor biology to enhance precision medicine. She is also a strategic advisor for AtlasXomics, a startup company recently formed to bring to market a novel the spatial transcriptomics and proteomics technology.

Prior to Tempus Labs and AtlasXomics, Hasini was a post-doctoral scientist at Stanford University and studied mechanisms of relapse and metastasis using novel technologies such as mass cytometry (CyTOF) and Multiplexed Ion Beam Imaging (MIBI) to conduct multiparameter protein analysis. Considering that current cancer treatments ultimately fail owing to metastasis and relapse, her work uncovered new insights that will help in the development of immunotherapies by providing future avenues for therapeutic design.

Hasini received her PhD from Johns Hopkins University in Chemical and Biomolecular engineering where she discovered a novel synergistic signaling pathway between interleukin 6 and 8 that is responsible for regulating metastasis. Inhibition of this pathway decreases the metastatic burden of cancer cells. Testing in pre-clinical models has demonstrated that inhibition of this synergistic cell density-dependent signaling mechanism significantly reduces effective metastasis to the lungs, liver, and lymph nodes without accelerating tumor growth. The results of Hasini's study established a novel method of solely targeting metastasis which is responsible for 90% of cancer related deaths and laid the foundation for the development of combination therapies that effectively target tumor growth and metastasis, and the establishment of bi-specific antibodies to target the synergistic signaling mechanism. Hasini was named a Forbes 30 under 30 in Science in 2018 for her contributions to cancer metastasis.

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Important Dates

Abstract submission deadline has been extended

31st July 2020

Notification of selected abstracts

09th September 2020

Deadline for revised abstract submission

16th September 2020

Conference Themes

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Biological Sciences

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Chemical Sciences

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Physical Sciences

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Social Sciences

Advisory Committee

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Professor Saman Seneweera
Conference Advisor

Director/ NIFS

director@nifs.ac.lk

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Professor Siril Wijesundara
Conference Advisor

Research Professor/ NIFS

siril.wi@nifs.ac.lk

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Dr. Kumari Tilakaratne
Conference Advisor

Head/ SEDU - NIFS

kumari.ti@nifs.ac.lk

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Dr. Lakmal Jayaratna
Conference Advisor

Research Fellow/ NIFS

lakmal.ja@nifs.ac.lk

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Dr. Shalini Rajakaruna
Conference Advisor

Scientific Officer/ NIFS

shalini.ra@nifs.ac.lk

Editorial Committee

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Professor Cassim Iqbal
Editor in Cheif

Associate Research Professor/ NIFS

caseem.iq@nifs.ac.lk

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Professor Lakshman Dissnayake
Editorial Committee

Research Professor/ NIFS

lakshman.di@nifs.ac.lk

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Professor Siril Wijesundara
Editorial Committee

Research Professor/ NIFS

siril.wi@nifs.ac.lk

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Professor Lalith Jayasinghe
Editorial Committee

Senior Research Professor/ NIFS

lalith.ja@nifs.ac.lk

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Professor Deepal Subasinghe
Editorial Committee

Associate Research Professor / NIFS

deepal.su@nifs.ac.lk

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Dr Vageesha Gunasekara
Editorial Committee

Seniour Lecturer/ OUSL

vageesha@ousl.ac.lk

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Dr. Rasika Dissanayake
Coordinator - Editorial Committee

rasika.di@nifs.ac.lk

Organising Committee

Surendranie Cabral de Mel
Conference Co-chair

Research Assistant

surendranie.ca@nifs.ac.lk

Maheshika Perera
Conference Co-chair

Research Assistant

maheshika.pe@nifs.ac.lk

Pubudu Dissanayake
Co-chair - NIFS-YSA

Research Assistant

Kaushalya Hettiarachchi
Co-chair - NIFS-YSA

Research Assistant

Indika Samarakoon
Secretary - NIFS-YSA

Research Assistant

Nimanthika Samarasinghe
Secretary - NIFS-YSA

Research Assistant

Upuli Nakandala
Treasurer - NIFS-YSA

Research Assistant

Himashi Narampanawa
Treasurer - NIFS-YSA

Research Assistant

Abira Sathkunanathan
Committee member - NIFS-YSA

Research Assistant

Sanjila Marasinghe
Committee member - NIFS-YSA

Research Assistant

Umair Khaleelullah
Committee member - NIFS-YSA

Research Assistant

Upeksha Halpegama
Committee member - NIFS-YSA

Research Assistant

Anjana Rathnayake

Research Assistant

Buddhika Karunarathne

Research Assistant

Mahesh Senarathna

Research Assistant

Ovini Dissanayake

Research Assistant

Tharangika Bowanage

Research Assistant

Sewwandi Kaushalya

Research Assistant

Afka Deen

Research Assistant

Ishara Sandamali

Research Assistant

Rasika Gunarathne

Research Assistant

NIFS

Contact

Young Scientists’ Association
National Institute of Fundamental Studies, Sri Lanka
ysa@nifs.ac.lk

Dr. Shalini Rajakaruna +94 77 730 4223 | Pubudu Dissanayake +94 71 387 4353 | Maheshika Perera +94 71 077 8959

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