Ayomi Perera

Education:

  • PhD, Chemistry, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, USA
  • Bsc, Chemistry, The Open University of Sri Lanka, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Ayomi is a Lecturer in Organic and Pharmaceutical Chemistry at Kingston University. Prior to that, she was was a postdoctoral researcher in the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering (CNIE) and the Department of Chemical Engineering at UCL.

Research:
Ayomi’s contribution to the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering is in the development of a new class of bio-inspired, “agent-based” materials. These materials would have the potential of self-organizing into dynamic systems, be utilized as nano-catalysts, act as drug-carriers and self-healing materials for industrial or medicinal use, among other things. The concept of these “agents” is inspired by mechanisms of growth and replication of bacterial colonies that form fractal aggregates and function collectively in a dynamic, efficient manner. The aim is not to simply mimic these natural agents, but to utilize their remarkable features and mechanisms, to develop a synthetic system, capable of surpassing the existing technology, in self-organization and self-healing ability. One of the research goals is to develop a system, which is not only attractive as a mere scientific concept, but one which can be converted to practical applications. Hence properties such as robust nous, mechanical strength and durability are significant in the proposed agents, apart from dynamic self-organization. There-in lays the challenge, as well as the fascination, of this research.

Her PhD research experience includes extraction, characterization and probing scopes of applications of the Mycobacterial channel protein “MspA”, which is one of the most stable porins known to date. MspA is capable of self-organizing into solid supports such as mica, form channels in lipid bilayers and form vesicles in water. She has studied mechanisms of self-organization of MspA aggregates in various aqueous solutions. These studies include variations against temperature, concentration and presence of organo-metallic complexes. She was also involved in fabrication of a “hybrid soft solar-cell”, which successfully incorporates a protein component to conduct current, in a dye-sensitized solar cell prototype, for the first time. She is also experienced in the use of liposomes and protein vesicles as drug-delivery vehicles for treatment and detection of cancer.

Ayomi’s previous postdoctoral research, conducted at Kansas State University, includes developing a novel nano-catalyst from acid-functionalized, iron/iron oxide core-shell nanoparticles as a catalyst for cellulose dehydration. This research aimed at developing a selective, industrial scale catalyst for glucose production from plant matter, which in turn would be utilized as a source for bio fuel.

Project: Robust, adaptive and self-healing materials

Publications:

  1. Perera, A. S., & Coppens, M. O. (2016).                                                                                                                                                                      "Titano-silicates: Highlights on development, evolution and application in oxidative catalysis".                                                                           Catalysis, 28, 119-143. doi:10.1039/9781782626855-00119
  2. S.O. Wendel, A.S. Perera, P.H. Pfromm, P. Czermak, and S.H. Bossmann,
    “Fermentation optimization of mycobacterium smegmatis using experimental design”,
    British J. Appl. Sci. Technol., 2014, 4(10), 1472.
    [Link]
  3. A.S. Perera, N.K. Subbaiyan, M.Kalita, M.E. Niederweis, S.O. Wendel, T.N. Samarakoon, F. D'Souza, and S.H. Bossmann,
    “A hybrid soft solar cell based on the mycobacterial porin MspA linked to a sensitizer−viologen diad”,
    J. Am. Chem. Soc.,
    2013, 135, 6842.
    [Link]
  4. A.S. Perera, H. Wang, M.T. Basel, M.R. Pokhrel, P.S. Gamage, M. Kalita, S.O. Wendel, B. Sears, D. Welideniya, Y. Liu, C. Turro, D.L. Troyer, and S.H. Bossmann,
    “Channel blocking of MspA revisited”,
    Langmuir, 2013, 29(1), 308.
    [Link]
  5. A.S. Perera, H. Wang, T.B. Shrestha, D.L. Troyer, and S.H. Bossmann,
    “Nanoscopic surfactant behavior of the porin MspA in aqueous media”,
    Beilstein J. Nanotechnol., 2013, 4, 278.
    [Link]
  6. S.O. Wendel, A.S. Perera, P.H. Pfromm, P. Czermak, and S.H. Bossmann,
    “Adaptation of mycobacterium smegmatis to an industrial scale medium & isolation of the mycobacterial porin MspA”,
    Open Microbiol. J., 2013, 7, 92.
    [Link]
Ayomi Perera