The Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine was established in August 2020 in collaboration with SungKyunKwan University, South Korea as a part of their Leading University Project for International Corporation and ODA (Official Development Assistance) project. The department has two academic staff members (Prof. Neelika Malavige and Dr. Chandima Jeewandara), 3 Senior Research Scientists, 6 PhD students, 8 Research Assistants, a Project Coordinator and a Laboratory Assistant.

With the assistance of SKKU, this Department aims to advance research and human resource development in Allergy, Immunology and Molecular Medicine to achieve national and international development. In addition to various community activities carried out already, the department wishes to initiate more community projects funded by SKKU, especially focused on school children in the near future. Furthermore, the department expects to introduce Masters, Bachelors and other laboratory proficiency courses starting from 2021.

The department is involved in various academic and training activities mentioned below.


Participation in Undergraduate Programmes

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


Participation in Postgraduate Research and Training Programmes

  • PhD/MPhil research degrees
  • MSc in Molecular Medicine conducted by the PGIM (research component)
  • MSc in Nutrition conducted by the PGIM



Undergraduate and Postgraduate Teaching Activities

  • Lectures, small group discussions and practical classes in the phase II of the MBBS curriculum
  • Lectures, tutorials and practical classes in the Immunology Module of the B.Sc. (Medical Laboratory Sciences)
  • Supervision of MSc, MPhil, PhD and MD research projects
  • Weekly student presentation at Departmental meetings
  • Journal clubs
  • Clinical teaching at the allergy clinic during the Family Medicine appointment
  • Seminars and workshops: laboratory techniques




  • Cell culture facilities
  • Realtime PCR: gene expression, dengue virus serotyping, viral diagnostics, COVID-19 diagnostics
  • Digital PCR
  • Flowcytometry
  • Confocal microscopy
  • Next Generation Sequencing
  • Allergy diagnosis
  • Component resolved allergy diagnosis
  • Cell sorting
  • ELISA: pathogen specific antigen detection, quantitative cytokine detection
  • Luminex: multiplex cytokine detection, antibody detection and pathway analysis
  • ELISpot: T cell functional assays
  • virus neutralization assays and virus propagation, antiviral assays

The Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine along with the Allergy Immunology and Cell Biology Unit (AICBU) is carrying out PCR testing for the SARS-CoV2 and contributing to the nation with a dedicated team of scientists who have been working tirelessly since the beginning of the pandemic. By now there have been more than 100,000 PCR tests performed and the staff is contributing to the 1/8th of the national need in diagnosing the infected by carrying out more than 1000 tests on a daily basis.

Moreover, the department is working as pioneers in SARS-CoV2 related researches and has accomplished remarkably and would continue to do so in the following,

  • Whole genomic sequencing of the SARS-CoV2 strains in Sri Lanka
  • Antibody responses to SARS-CoV2
  • Identifying biomarkers and inflammatory mediators that lead to severe disease
  • Serosuvillence study in the community to determine the extent of silent infection
  • T cell responses to the SARS-CoV2



International Collaborations

  • SungKyunKwan University
  • University of Oxford
  • University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, USA
  • Duke-NUS, Singapore



Collaborations with Sri Lankan Universities and Research Institutes

  • Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo
  • National Institute of Infectious Diseases
  • Epidemiology Unit, Sri Lanka
  • National Dengue Control unit
  • SLINTec


Grants Received

1. Dengue and arboviral research

  • A2CARES program (US$ 1.15 million, 2020 to 2025):
  • DOR 53 (AHEAD research grant program, 35 million, 2019 to 2022): pathogenesis of severe dengue
  • NSF (RPHS/2016/D-06, 27 million): 2016-2019

2. COVID-19 research grants

  • British High Commission (2020-2021, 10.5 million)
  • WHO: Navy study (2020-2021, 4.24 million)
  • WHO: Colombo Municipality Council grant (11.96 million)

3. Allergy Research