Dushanthi Dissanayake

Dushanthi DissanayakeDushanthi Dissanayake Home Institute: University of Victoria
Supervisor: Tania Watts

I was very fortunate to be born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, a city recognized internationally for its multiculturalism and also for its nature as a hub for research, innovation, and development. After taking biology in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program during high school, I realized I had a true passion for the biomedical sciences and research. After receiving my IB diploma, my family and I moved to Victoria, BC, where I have been able to pursue my undergraduate degree in the Biochemistry/Microbiology program at the University of Victoria funded by a four-year UVic Excellence Scholarship. I greatly enjoy the beautiful landscape in and around the campus.  Successful completion of my first year of education lead me not only to be part of the Dean's list but also to win a three-year Canada-wide scholarship, the Fessenden-Trott. I am thrilled to be able to participate in the Amgen Scholars Program. I am confident that the program will allow me to pursue my research interests whilst also allowing me to explore opportunities of professional development. My hobbies include swimming, skating, playing the piano, playing badminton, and spending time with my friends and family. I also enjoy my various volunteer roles, including as an Emergency Room Volunteer and Social Support Team Lead at the Victoria General Hospital, a co-leader of the UVic Health Advocacy Group, an In-Clinic Volunteer at the Canadian Blood Services, an Orientation Leader at the University of Victoria, and a weekly online tutor of two Kenyan students (among other roles).

I am particularly excited by the opportunity to conduct hands-on research in a world-renowned research laboratory. By being situated in downtown Toronto, Canada's most notable research hub, the Amgen Scholars Program will allow me to immerse myself in cutting-edge research. By learning key laboratory techniques, I aim to develop the independence needed to pursue my very own research project. Being able to delve into a complex research area in a span of two and half months will definitely be a challenge. I look forward to working with my supervisor, Dr. Peter Wells, and my group members in designing an experimental plan that will enable me to achieve my research goal. I also am excited to present my work at the Amgen Scholars Symposium at UCLA and meet other fellow Amgen scholars!

The opportunity to work with leading researchers at one of the most prestigious universities in North America will allow me to explore cutting-edge research first-hand. The laboratory experience and networking opportunities will definitely help in shaping my career in science and research.