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Research Fields

Centre for Plant Materials and Herbal Products Research is currently involved in trending research areas in science including natural products, plant secondary metabolites, and drug discovery based on herbal products mainly focusing on their biochemical aspect. For the drug discovery related research, we use bioinformatics based predictive approach in drug target identification and Caenorhabditis elegans as animal model. Apart from these, we are interested in myco-chemicals, mushrooms, and plant endophytes.

Caenorhabditis elegans
as a model organism in Research

C. elegans is used as an organism that nonetheless shares many of the essential biological characteristics that are central problems of human biology. The worm is conceived as a single cell that undergoes a complex process of development, starting with embryonic cleavage, proceeding through morphogenesis and growth to the adult. Thus, C. elegans provides the researcher with an ideal model organism for human biology-related research.

Fungi including mushrooms for novel research

Kingdom fungi is a highly diverse taxon and the diversity in Sri Lanka is immense due to the tropical climate in the region. The medicinal, culinary and agricultural importance of these fungi including the mushrooms are to be discovered. Most of the fungal species in Sri Lanka are yet to be taxonomically identified using molecular data.

Biochemistry of plant materials and herbal products

Plants and plant products are used for medicinal purposes since the prehistoric era. In traditional medicine, different plant parts are used to prepare different medicinal recipes. Secondary metabolites in plants act as active ingredients and these have the potential to be used as precursors for novel and modern drugs required globally.

Research Focus

  • Chemistry and biological activity studies of medicinal plants.
  • Development of cosmeceuticals, nutraceuticals, functional foods and herbal medicines.
  • Taxonomy and identification of unexploited medicinal plants and herbs.
  • Scientific validation of herbal preparations.
  • Chemotaxonomic studies of plant materials.
  • Collection of ethnopharmacological knowledge on medicinal plants.

From Traditional Herbal Medicine to the Novel Therapeutics

Sri Lanka has a long history of utilizing herbal materials with unique medicinal properties for the treatment of a vast number of diseases. However, still, it is a field that is to be explored for the development of novel therapeutics to treat life-threatening diseases.