The Department of Biochemistry was established in the year 1993 under the guidance of Emeritus Prof. E.R. Jansz, Dr. I. Jayawardane and Prof. H. Pieris, together with the departments of Anatomy and Physiology.

Biochemistry, sometimes called Biological Chemistry, is the study of chemical processes in living organisms, including, but not limited to, living matter. Biochemistry governs all living organisms and living processes. By controlling information flow through biochemical signaling and the flow of chemical energy through metabolism, biochemical processes give rise to the incredible complexity of life. Much of biochemistry deals with the structures and functions of cellular components such as proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, nucleic acids and other biomolecules although increasingly processes rather than individual molecules are the main focus. Over the last 40 years biochemistry has become so successful at explaining living processes that now almost all areas of the life sciences from botany to medicine are engaged in biochemical research. Today the main focus of pure biochemistry is in understanding how biological molecules give rise to the processes that occur within living cells which in turn relates greatly to the study and understanding of whole organisms.


Participation in Undergraduate Training Programmes

We contribute to the following undergraduate degree programmes

  • MBBS
  • B.Sc. (Human Biology) - General and Special
  • B.Sc. (Nursing)
  • B.Sc. (Pharmacy)
  • B.Sc. (Medical Laboratory Sciences)


Participation in Postgraduate Training Programmes

  • M.Sc.
  • M.Phil
  • PhD


Teaching Activities

The basic and key concepts of biochemistry, food & nutrition and clinical biochemistry or an in-depth knowledge of all areas related to medical and allied health sciences is taught depending on the learning objectives of the respective degree programme. Biochemistry is taught in an integrated manner together with Physiology and Anatomy under different modules for the MBBS and Human Biology (Part I) courses whereas in the other degree courses it is taught and assessed as a separate subject.

Teaching-learning methods involve Lectures, Small Group Discussions, Tutorials, Laboratory Practicals, Fixed Learning Modules, Guided Learning Sessions, Seminars etc. The staff also supervises final year research projects for Human Biology, B Pharmacy, B.Sc. Nursing and B.Sc. Medical Laboratory Sciences undergraduates.

In addition to teaching and supervising research of undergraduates the departmental staff supervises postgraduate research leading to M.Sc., MPhil and PhD degrees.



The department is located on the top floor of the library building. A students’ teaching laboratory, with the capacity to accommodate 60 students, is located within the department. In addition, a common research laboratory for Biochemistry and Physiology researchers is available, comprising a variety of sophisticated equipment necessary for advanced research.

The most recent addition to the Dept is the Clinical Biochemistry Research Laboratory equipped through World Class University Grant providing research facilities for all university staff. This laboratory houses a state of the art biochemical analyzer and a HPLC with many features suitable for advanced research. Another recent addition to the above facilities is a advanced immunoanalyzer obtained through a NSF grant.


Services to the Community

The department carries out industrial food based collaborative research as a service and has established a centre for determining glycaemic indices of commercial products.

Database on Glycaemic indices of Sri Lankan foods





Prof. Sagarika Ekanayake

  • Fellowships by International Programme In the Chemical Sciences(IPICS), University of Uppsala, Sweden
    • University of Lund, Sweden - 1997/1998
    • Swedish Agricultural University, Ultuna, Sweden - 1999
    • University of Umea/Lund, Sweden - 2000/2001
    • University of Lund, Sweden - 2002/2003/2004/2005
  • President’s Research Bonus - 1999 (Food Chemistry: 66, 115-119)
    • President’s Research Award - 2003 (Food /Nahrung, 47, 4, 256-260)
    • President’s Research Award - 2006 (Starke/Starch, 58, 215-222)
  • Award for the Second Best Oral Presentation of a Research Paper. Starch Update 2003, PEACH, Pattaya, Thailand.
  • World Bank funded Fellowship through IRQUE/QEF to visit University Sains, Malaysia & University Malaya, Malaysia for inspection and familiarization of Problem based Learning (PBL) curriculum and Information Technology development activities in medical teaching/learning (12th-26th March 2006).
  • Scholarship by AMBO International to participate in the Training Course on "Innovative Research Strategies for Tomorrow. Cell Adhesion, Recognition, Apoptosis and Oxidative stress"; Analyses of Reactive Oxygen and Nitrogen Species, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University, Japan. 21th-28th March 2001.
  • Fellowship by International Foundation for Science, Sweden to participate in the "Leadership course for Asian women in Agriculture" R & D an extension. Organized by IRRI, Philippines, February 2008.
  • Prof. M.U.S. Sultanbawa Award for Research in Chemistry (2008), Institute of Chemistry Ceylon.
  • Young Scientist Forum/NASTEC Sri Lanka - Award for Research Excellence in 2009


Prof. U.G. Chandrika

  • Presidential award for research 2003
  • Presidential award for research 2005
  • Presidential award for research 2006
  • Prof. M.U.S. Sulthanbawa Award (2004), for the best research paper presented at the Annual Sessions, Institute of Chemistry, Ceylon.
  • Kandiah Memorial award I (2005), for the best piece of research in Chemistry carried out by a postgraduate student working in a higher educational institution.


Dr. P.P. Rasika Perera

  • Special Prize in Cardiology for the best presentation in the field of Cardiology Perera PPR, Chandrasena LG, Indrakumar J, Peiris H. Glutathione peroxidase and severity of Ischaemic Heart Disease in a cohort of Sri Lankan patients. Ceylon Medical Council Journal – 2010.


Ms. L.V. Athiththan

  • Best presentation for the year 2007 (Health session) at the 59th Annual Scientific Sesions of the Sri Lanka Veterinary Association.
  • NSF Postgraduate Scholarship 2003/2004