Nanoscale Biological Engineering Laboratory

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People are Our Strength

Photo of tree climbers
Duminda Anuradh Gunawardena (doctoral student) joined our research team in 2005 and has contributed to some amazing research.  He has his undergraduate degree from University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka in Mechanical Engineering. He earned is MS in Biological Engineering at Mississippi State University. He was instumental in starting our biological fuel cells work. His glucose oxidase based enzymatic fuel cell is a beauti.

Then he decided that he wanted to retrogress back to his first love, thermochemical conversion. Now he is working on catalytic pyrolysis and it is his results that you see as dramatic 3-D graphs on methanol conversion to gasoline (Benzene, Toluene and Xylenes-BTX). His pressure based studies is one of the very first attempts to look at the pressure dependancy of aromatics formation via deoxygenation of biomass components. Anuradh is very thorough meticulous and dedicated (to put in a more scientific way - a "lab rat").


Gayan Ivantha Nawarathne (doctoral student) is our second addition to the team. What a gem! He is the peoples person and is the one who keeps all of them together. He did his Batchelors Degree in Chemical Engineering at University of Moratuwa Sri Lanka and just defended his M.S. at Mississippi State University. He started his work with enzyme catalysis in hydrogen production and quickly fell in love with inorganic catalysts and did some amazing work in developing a nanoscale process to produce hydrogen using electrosplitting of glycerol. 

Photo of students during burn

He continues to work on inorganic catalysis and now has challanged himself to develop a novel catalysis concept called as amphiphillic catalysts where the catalyst has duel functionalitiy of being an emulsifying agent and of course a catalyst. The beauty of this concept is that this is the first attempt to develop a solid material that has such properties. Ivantha is the person who keeps the lab organized. What a fun to be around him.  


Nalin Samarasinghe (MS student) is the newest addition to our team and has already shown his "colors" by attacking a pervasive problem head on - breaking intransigent micro algal cell walls to squeeze out oil. He is a chemical engineering who graduated with his batchelor's degree from University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka.
Photo of tree climbers
Nalin is planning to tackle a very challanging research problem which brings chills to me. He is attempting to produce hydrogen using the natural photosynthetic pathway to split water.