Preethi V Udagama, MSc., PhD.

Cadre Chair & Senior Professor

Department of Zoology & Environment Sciences
Faculty of Science, University of Colombo,
Colombo 00300, Sri Lanka.

Room No: 107

Work: +94 011-250 3399

Mobile: +94-714416050 / +94-779717725

Email: preethi@zoology.cmb.ac.lk

Senior Professor Preethi Udagama, currently holds the Cadre Chair and is the Head of the Department of Zoology & Environment Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Colombo; this Department  has been her research base for the last 27+ years. The thrust of her research work is rooted in the immuno and molecular epidemiology of  vivax malaria in Sri Lanka, a journey which commenced in 1985 with her doctoral research at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Colombo (1985-1989).

Her other research interests are multifaceted in nature; her current research focus is on extracting knowledge from Sri Lankan Traditional Medicine to search for potential drug leads.  i.e. bioprospecting for natural products with immunomodulatory and other bioactivity carried out on in vitro stem cell and cancer cell line platforms and in in vivo Wistar rat models; Bioactivities identified thus far include proliferation of stem cells and of melanocytes, differentiation of stem cells into chondrocytes,  anti-obesity and anti-adipogenic properties, wound healing activity, melanogenesis. A local patent was recently awarded to her research group in January, 2021.

Thrust areas of research:
  • Immuno & Molecular Epidemiology of Plasmodium vivax asexual stage vaccine candidates in Sri Lanka; Serology as a marker of malaria transmission under the Prevention of Re-establishment Phase of malaria   
  • Bioprospecting for immunomodulatory and other vital bioactivity of herbal preparations based on Sri Lankan Traditional Medicine cues
  • Association of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and Oral & Oropharyngeal Cancer (OPC) in Sri Lanka
  • Cytokines and  other Immune mediators as biomarkers of non communicable diseases
  • Reproductive & Pregnancy Immunology
About Prof. Preethi Udagama:

She considers herself to be a “totally locally” groomed  academic: Following her BSc in Biological Sciences and MSc in Nuclear Science obtained from the Faculty of Science, University of Colombo, she proceeded to read for her PhD on “Plasmodium vivax Asexual Erythrocytic Stage Antigens” (Medical Parasitology in the area of immuno parasitology of vivax malaria) supervised by Professors Kamini Mendis, Malik Peiris and Dr. Peter David (Institute Pasteur, Paris). Her local postgraduate research training was further honed by a postdoctoral stint (1990-1994) at the Biotechnology lab, Faculty of Forestry & Environmental Management, University of New Brunswick, Canada under a research fellowship followed by a visiting fellowship, both awarded by the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada. 

Prof. Udagama jointly promoted the introduction of Immunology as a subject to the Biological sciences undergraduate curriculum in 1996, and also developed  the first MSc programme in Immunology in Sri Lanka offered through the IBMBB, University of Colombo. As a woman scientist in STEM who indulges in a variable variety of Biomedical  research interests, she has won numerous awards for her research output including the National Science Foundation Excellence in Research – Merit award in Biotechnology for 2004, President’s Award for Scientific Publication from 2004 to 2016; National Research Council Merit Awards in 2010 and 2017; Award for excellence in research, Faculty of Science, University of Colombo in 2014; the life time award for excellence in research carried out in Sri Lanka from the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science in 2014, and  SUSRED awards from the National Science Foundation, Sri Lanka in 2018 and 2019.

She has to her credit many research publications, a majority in high impact international journals, 245 research communications (57 international, 188 local), 3 book chapters and a patent. Currently,  Prof.  Udagama has an H-index of 25 with an i10-index of 45. She is a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences of Sri Lanka, and of the Institute of Biology, Sri Lanka.

She believes her life calling is to train young Sri Lankan scientists; To this end she has trained and continues to train numerous postgraduate and undergraduate students  in Biomedical research instilling ethical integrity and scientific excellence in them.