Shanaka is from Sri Lanka where he
did his undergrads majoring in
Botany and Chemistry. For his PhD, he is looking at the workings of
the enzyme Ceramide Kinase. It is the only mammalian
enzyme known to produce the lipid signaling molecule
ceramide-1-phosphate (C1P) which among other things is a
potent inducer of inflammation. Proper
understanding of the CERK can lead to novel cures for a
host of diseases including asthma, arthritis and cancer.
Shanaka has coauthored three
publications, has shared first authorship with another, and has a publication of his own. He was the
recipient of the
2005 Clayton award. He was also
presented with a Student Fellowship Award for an oral
presentation at the 3rd International
Charleston Ceramide Conference.
In his spare time he likes reading
and dabbling with
anything related to computers. He is also a lover of
martial arts, especially Aikido.