Prof. Sunil Premawansa

Prof. Sunil Premawansa

Professor in Zoology

Department of Zoology and Environment Sciences,
University of Colombo,
Colombo 03,
Sri Lanka.
Room: 203
Work Phone: +94112158392

Academic and Professional qualifications:

BSc, PhD

FIBiol and Charted Biologist


Teaching areas:

  • Immunology
  • Molecular Biology and Parasitology
  • Immunology and molecular biology of infectious diseases
  • Diseases and Environment
  • Wild life diseases
  • Human Behavior
  • Anthropology


Research interests:

Immunological and molecular biological research on Malaria, Dengue and  leptospirosis  with respect to Immunopathogenesis and immunogenetics, diagnosis of malaria, dengue and leptospirosis, infectious pathogens in Bats and Chromium toxicity in animals, Immuno-chemical characterization of inset venom and their impact on human health (anaphylaxis), Immuno-chemical characterization of allergenic pollen and their association with respiratory illnesses


Publications: Since 2009 only.

  • R A Munasinghe, M Illeperuma, G Premawansa, S M Handunnetti and S Premawansa (2009). Spleen modulation of cytoadherence properties of Plasmodium falciparum. Scandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases, (April 2009 issue); 41; 538-539.
  • V. A. Kulasena, R. P. V. J. Rajapakse, J. P. Dubey , P. N. Dayawansa,  and S. Premawansa (2010)Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in cats from Colombo, Sri Lanka, The Journal of Parasitology, 97 (1):152.
  • Gunasekara. W.M.K.T.D.A.W,  Abeysinghe, R, R., Premawansa, S and Fernando, D (2011). Usefulness of Polymerase Chain Reaction to supplement field microscopy in a pre-selected population with a high probability of malaria infection. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Am J Trop Med Hyg.; 85 (1), 6-11.
  • Perera MK, Herath NP, Pathirana SL, Phone-Kyaw M, Alles HK, Mendis KN, Premawansa S, Handunnetti SM. (2013). Association of high plasma TNF-α levels and TNF-α/ IL-10 ratios with TNF2 allele in severe P. falciparum malaria patients in Sri Lanka. Pathogens & Global Health, 107:21-29.
  • Karen E. Ocwieja, Anira N,. Fernando, Scott Sherrill-Mix, Sesh A Sundaraman, Rashika,. N Tennekoon, Rashika Tipplagama, Shivankari Krishnananthasivam, Gayani Premawansa, Sunil Premawansa and Dharshan De Silva. (2014). Phylogeography and Molecular Epidemiology of an Epidemic Strain of Dengue Virus Type in Sri Lanka (2014). American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygience, 91(2); pp 225-234
  • DeSilva, N L, Nillofa, M J R., Fernando, N, Karunanayake, L, Rodrigo, C, De Silva, H J, Premawansa, S, Handunnetti, S H and Rajapakse, S. (2014). Changes in full blood count parameters in leptospirosis: a prospective study. International Archives of Medicine, 7: 31.
  • Shivankari Krishnananthasivam, Anira N. Fernando, Rashmi Tippalagama, Rashika Tennekoon, Jeroen De Man, Dammika Seneviratne, Sunil Premawansa, Gayani Premawansa, Aruna Dharshan De Silva.(2015). Evaluation of the commercial SD Dengue Duo rapid test kit for detection of acute dengue infection. South East Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health. Vol 46 No. 4 July 2015, pg 602-610
  • Roshan Niloofa, Narmada Fernando, Nipun Lakshitha de Silva, Lilani Karunanayake, Hasith Wickremesinghe, Nandana Dikmadugoda, Gayani Premawansa, Rajitha Wikramasinghe, H Janaka de Silva, Sunil Premawansa, Senaka Rajapakse, Shiroma Handunnetti. (2015). Diagnosis of Leptospirosis: Comparison between Microscopic Agglutination Test, IgM-ELISA and IgM Rapid Immunochromatography Test. PLOS ONE. 2015 Jun 18;10 (6):e012923
  • Fernando, V. K., Perera, I. C., Dangalle, C. D., Premawansa, S., and Wijesinghe, M. R. (2015). Histological Alterations in the Body Wall of the Tropical Earthworm Eudrilus eugeniae Exposed to Hexavalent Chromium. Bulletin of environmental contamination and toxicology,94(6), 744-748.
  • Senaka Rajapakse, Praveen Weeratunga, M.J. Roshan Niloofa, Narmada Fernando, Chathuraka Rodrigo, Sachith Maduranga, Nipun Lakshitha Fernando, H. Janaka De Silva, Lilani Karunanayake, Shiroma Handunnetti, Sunil Premawansa. A diagnostic scoring model for leptospirosis in resource limited settings – A prospective study. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 10(6): e0004513
  • Fernando AN, Malavige GN, Perera KLN, Premawansa S, Ogg GS, De Silva AD. (2015) Polymorphisms of transporter associated with antigen presentation, tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin 10 and their implications for protection and susceptibility to severe forms of dengue fever in patients in Sri Lanka. Journal of Global Infectious Diseases. Vol 7 Issue 4, ISSN 0974-777X; 157-164.
  • Narmada Fernando, Shalini Wickramasinghe, Roshan Niloofa, Chathuraka Rodrigo, Lilani Karunanayake, H Janaka de Silva, Rajitha Wickramasinghe, Sunil Premawansa, Senaka Rajapakse, Shiroma Handunnetti. Protein carbonyl as a biomarker of oxidative stress in severe leptospirosis, and its usefulness in differentiating leptospirosis from dengue infections, PLoS ONE. 11(6): e0156085
  • Madura Adikari1, Charith Perera2, Mihika Fernando2, Sunil Premawansa3, Dharshan de Silva2 and Gayani Premawansa1, 2016, Prevalence of Hypocalcemia and Its Potential Value as a Biochemical Markerin Patients with Severe Dengue Infection,
  • Fernando, V. A. K., Weerasena, J., Lakraj, G, P. Perera, I. C., Dangalle, C. D., Handunnetti, S., Premawansa, S. and Wijesinghe, M. R. (2016). Lethal and sub-lethal effect on the Asian common toad Duttaphrynus melanoctictus from exposure to hexvalent chromium. Aquatic Toxicology, 177, 98-105.
  • Weiskopf, D., Angelo, M., Grifoni, A., O’Rouke, P. H., Sidney, J., Paul, S., De Silva A, D., Phillips, E. Mallal, S., Premawansa, S., Premawansa, G., Wijewickrama, A., Peters, B. and Sette, A. (2016). HLA DRB1 alleles are associated with different response magnitudes of dengue virus specific CD4+ T cell responses. Journal of infectious diseases. 1;214(7):1117-24.
  • Mapalagamage, M, De Silva, A. D., Premawansa, G, Handunetti, S. and Premawansa S. (2016) Serum nitrite and anti-oxidant capacity as biomarkers for dengue severity. Submitted to PLOS one, Under review.


On-going Research Projects:

a)Reactive oxygen and nitrogen metabolites and use of them as biomarkers for detecting dengue severity and  genetic risk factors for dengue severity

b)Reactive oxygen and nitrogen intermediates and their relationship with leptospirosis severity

c)Immune effector cell activation in leptospirosis

c)Investigating most effective diagnosis method for early identification  of leptospirosis

d)Investigating chromium toxicity levels in selected faunal species and their impact on tissue damage and immunological  changes in tested animals

e)Identification of viral and bacterial pathogens transmitted from bats to humans

f)Identification of etiology of unidentified viral encephalitis patients

g)Investigating pox viral antibodies in mammal species in Sri Lanka

h)Immuno chemical characterization of venom from Apis dorsta and Vespa affinis in Sr Lanka and their impact on anaphylaxis status in human

i)Immunochemical characterization of allergenic pollen varieties in Sri Lanka and their relationship with respiratory illnesses (e.g. allergic rhinitis) in Sri Lankan patients

j)Studying immunological mechanisms for endothelial dysfunction in severe dengue patients

k)Functionalilty of human neutophils on pathogenic and saphrophytic leptospira