Student Successes

Thakshila Liyanage

Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry

What degree are you working toward?

A doctoral degree in Analytical Chemistry.

Why did you choose graduate school at IUPUI?

I chose IUPUI over other universities mainly due to my interest in biosensing applications. Under the supervision of Dr. Rajesh Sardar, the University was already working on ground breaking research in “Surface Plasmon Resonance (LSPR)” based on microRNA sensors using gold nanoprisms.

Another reason is IUPUI’s location. Indianapolis is home to prestigious leading industries related to my studies, including Eli Lilly, Dow, etc., which have sharpened IUPUI’s mission in terms of chemistry.

IUPUI has the resources required to work on ground breaking research to lead the world in science, and I wanted to be a part of that.

What’s been your favorite academic accomplishment since you’ve been here?

My favorite academic accomplishment so far has been researching the current method of detecting Cancer MicroRNA, which failed to work directly in biological fluids. Also, the methods were either semi-quantitative or they required amplification. At our lab, we developed highly sensitive, label-free, non-destructive, highly specific methods to detect Cancer MicroRNA based on the LSPR properties of chemically synthesized gold nanoprisms.

This research would help with the early diagnosis of cancer and, hopefully, it would benefit many people in the near future. I am proud to be a part of this academic accomplishment, and it has been my favorite research to be a part of to date.

What do you enjoy most about life in Indianapolis?

Indianapolis is a welcoming city with beautiful people. It is highly diverse and offers an incredible international experience. I have attended one of the races at the Indianapolis 500 and have explored the city’s museums, as well as sampled different local and international foods here.

In the summer and fall, every day at 5 a.m., I start my day by running around Indy’s best landscape, which is the downtown canal. And for me, it is heaven on earth.