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Prof Paranagama’s overarching research interests revolve around bioactive natural products from plant associated fungi and endolichenic fungi. Recently she has initiated a new research program in examining bioactive compounds from endolichenic fungi in mangroves in Sri Lanka. Bioactive small molecules are monitored using anticancer, antifungal, antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetics, anti-lipase and insecticidal bioassays. She has established foreign collaboration with Prof. Leslie Gunatilaka from University of Arizona and Dr. Gothamie Weerakoon from The Field Museum, Chicago. Moreover her current research interests also include development of value added products from by-products of fruits and vegetables, development of Nutraceuticals from local natural resources, development of bio-pesticides from semiochemicals to control agricultural pests in Sri Lanka and nutritional analysis of traditional food varieties. She is interested in conducting research on toxic trace elements such as As, Cd and Hg and produced several national and international publications.
She has produced over 14 postgraduate students with PhD. / M.Phil. / M.Sc degrees and currently supervise eight PhD / M.Phil research students. She has published over 40 publications in peer reviewed journals and presented over 80 communications in national and international symposia. Prof Paranagama is a recipient of two patents for development of slow releases biopesticides from essential oils to control stored grain pests in rice and cowpea. She has already submitted two patent applications for discovery of new anticancer compounds from endolichenic fungus and development of a spice mixture to control female obesity. She is author / editor of eight books / book chapters / monographs.
Prof Paranagama is a recipient of many national and international awards; three Vice Chancellor’s awards in 2016 for the highest amount of External Research Grant funding in the Faculty of Science in 2015, bringing honour to University of Kelaniya in 2015 and the dedicated services rendered to the University of Kelaniya over a period of 25 years. She is the recipient of Dr. C. L. de Silva Gold medal in 2015 for outstanding research contribution in chemical sciences, Merit award from National Research Council, Sri Lanka (2014), Silver medal for the paper presented at the annual research symposium of the college of Forensic Pathologist of Sri Lanka (2012), Presidential awards (2009 & 2008), Professor M U S Sultanbawa Memorial Oration Gold Medal Award (2008) and Merit certificate for Scientific Research at Young Scientists Forum (2007). Further she is a recipient of many national and international research grants from National Research Council, National Science Foundation, Third World Academy of Sciences, Italy, International Science Foundation, Sweden, Council for Agricultural Research Policy (CARP), University of Kelaniya and Institute of Chemistry Ceylon.