Researcher

My Expertise

My expertise is in unravelling the pathogenesis of emerging viral ingections by using cutting-edge sequencing and other technologies. Our work is mostly focussed on pathogenic RNA viruses. We use dengue virus as a model for acute infections and the Hepatitis C virus as a model for chronic infections to test our hypotheses. We use a range of techniques such as next and third generation sequencing, advanced immunological assays, mathematical modelling, phylogenetics, machine learning and clinical metagenomics to improve diagnosis, prevention, treatment and outcome prediction of infections.     

 

Keywords

Fields of Research (FoR)

Infectious diseases, Clinical microbiology, Sequence analysis

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Biography

As a Senior Lecturer in Pathology at UNSW, I am an educator and a researcher focussing on neglected tropical diseases and emerging viral infections.

I am the chairperson of Human Research Ethics Committee (B) of UNSW, and a member of the higher degree research review panel at Kirby Institute. I am also the Secretary of the Australian Centre for Hepatitis Virology. My other administrative roles include being an editorial board member or an...view more

As a Senior Lecturer in Pathology at UNSW, I am an educator and a researcher focussing on neglected tropical diseases and emerging viral infections.

I am the chairperson of Human Research Ethics Committee (B) of UNSW, and a member of the higher degree research review panel at Kirby Institute. I am also the Secretary of the Australian Centre for Hepatitis Virology. My other administrative roles include being an editorial board member or an associate editor for BMC Infectious Diseases, Cochrane Clinical Answers, Systematic Reviews, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases and Frontiers in Education, and a Cochrane author affiliated to the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group. I am a clinician trained in Internal Medicine and a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, United Kingdom. As an educator, I am a fellow of the Higher Education Academy of United Kingdom and my teaching portfolio can be accessed here.

My research program is affiliated to the Viral Immunology Systems Program of Kirby Institute and supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council. Current projects focus on emerging viral  (Dengue, Zika, Hepatitis C, SARS-nCoV-2), and other tropical infections (Q fever and Rickettsial infections, leptospirosis, malaria). Our work extends from basic laboratory research to clinical research and translation, and evidence synthesis to improve the diagnosis and treatment of tropical infections.


My Grants

Investigator Initiated Research grant, Seqirus Australia (Industry grant), Prevalence of missed Q fever in Australia, 2021-2022

H2Seq: Viral genomics for public health interventions in HIV and HCV - Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), 2021 - 2026

NHMRC Investigator grant (Emerging Leader 1 category), 2020 - 2024

SOMS Early Career Research support grant 2018 -2019

Research Infrastructure Support Scheme (3 grants) , UNSW 2017, 2018


My Qualifications

MBBS MRCP(UK) MD PhD FHEA FRCP


My Awards

  1. Paper of the Month, September 2022, School of Biomedical Sciences, UNSW
  2. Paper of the Month, December 2020, School of Medical Sciences, UNSW 
  3. Award for Adaptability and Innovation in Pathology teaching, 2020, School of Medical Sciences, UNSW
  4. Paper of the Month, January 2020, School of Medical Sciences, UNSW 
  5. University award for teaching excellence (early career and rising star), UNSW Sydney, 2019
  6. Robert Dixon award for the best presentation (Hepatitis) at the annual workshop of the Australian Centre for HIV and Hepatitis Virology Research. Canungra, QLD, Australia 2019
  7. Award for teaching excellence (early career staff), Faculty of Medicine, UNSW Sydney 2018
  8. University International Postgraduate Research Award / Scholarship for PhD studies, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. 2014 – 2017
  9. Top-up scholarship for PhD studies, School of Medical Sciences, UNSW Sydney. 2014-2017
  10. Robert Dixon award for the best oral presentation at the annual workshop of the Australian Centre for HIV and Hepatitis Virology Research. Barossa Valley, SA, Australia 2017
  11. Paper of the Month, October 2016, School of Medical Sciences, UNSW
  12. Australasian Viral Hepatitis Conference Scholarship. Gold coast, Australia. 2016
  13. New Investigator Scholarship, 5th International symposium on hepatitis care in substance users. Oslo, Norway. 2016
  14. Victorian infectious diseases reference laboratory (VIDRL) educational grant (Hepatitis). Awarded at the annual workshop of the Australian Centre for HIV and Hepatitis Virology Research. Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia 2015
  15. Training fellowship. Cochrane infectious diseases group. Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom. 2014 
  16. Excellence award for the most outstanding junior researcher of Sri Lanka awarded by the Committee of Vice-chancellors and Directors (CVCD). 2012
  17. Award for scientific publications by the President of Sri Lanka 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
  18. University Research Award for best researcher in Faculty of Medicine, 2014. University of Colombo, Sri Lanka

My Research Activities

Vulnerability to severe dengue infection, Next generation sequencing, molecular epidemiology and evolutionary analysis of RNA viruses, Host immunity against RNA virus infections


My Research Supervision


Supervision keywords


Areas of supervision

Honours, ILP and PhD students


Currently supervising

Completed Supervisions - PhD

1.    Dr. Nasir Riaz (joint primary supervisor), Single molecule whole genome sequencing of the Hepatitis C (HCV) virus and its applications, Kirby Institute, UNSW, 2017 -2020.

2.    Dr. Arunasingam Abayasingam (joint primary supervisor), Neutralizing antibody responses in acute hepatitis C and SARS-nCoV-2 infection, School of Biomedical Sciences, UNSW, 2017- 2021

Current Students - PhD

1.    Dr. Hossain Sazzad (secondary supervisor), Dynamics of hepatitis C transmission in NSW prisons, Kirby Institute, UNSW, 2018-2021

2.    Dr. Braulio Valencia Arroyo (joint primary supervisor), Influence of host immunogenetics in determining the disease phenotype in influenza, Ross river virus, Epstein Barr virus and dengue virus infections, Kirby Institute, UNSW, 2018-2021

3.    Mr. Anurag Adhikari (secondary supervisor), Identification of protective anti-HCV antibodies in subjects that clear infection to inform vaccine design, School of Biomedical Sciences, UNSW, 2018 – 2021

4.    Ms. Samaneh Moallemi (primary supervisor), Biomarkers for severe dengue infection, School of Biomedical Sciences, UNSW, 2020 – 2024

5.    Mr Ahnsul Kabir (joint primary supervisor), Molecular diagnostics for viral infections. School of Biomedical Sciences, UNSW, 2021 – 2024

6.    Dr. Sachith Maduranga (primary supervisor), Molecular epidemiology of dengue infection. School of Biomedical Sciences, UNSW, 2022 - 2025


My Engagement

Associate Editor - Systematic Reviews (Journal), Cochrane Clinical Answers, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

Editorial Board Member - BMC Infectious Diseases

Review Editor - Frontiers in Education

Secretary - Australian Centre for Hepatitis Virology

Fellow - Higher Education Academy, United Kingdom

Fellow - Royal College of Physicians, London, United Kingdom


My Teaching

Please see myEducation portfolio for the full teaching profile

Co-convener 

1. PATH3205 - Molecular basis of disease, Department of Pathology, School of Medical Sciences

2. PATH3206 - Cancer Pathology, Department of Pathology, School of Medical Sciences

Pathology teaching and assessments

1. MD/MBBS - Phase 1, 2 and 3

2. PATH2201 - Processes of Disease

3. PATH3205 - Molecular Basis of Disease

4. PATH3206 - Cancer Pathology

5. PATH3207 - Musculoskeletal Diseases

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Location

Room 207, Level 2, Wallace Wurth Building, UNSW Medicine

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Contact

+61 (2) 9065 2186