CARC – Scientist Profile – Aruna Weerasooriya

WeerasooriyaA

Aruna Weerasooriya Ph. D.
Research Scientist

Education

Ph.D., The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong (Plant Systematics)
B.Sc., University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka (Biology)
Royal Botanic Garden – Kew and the Royal Botanic Garden – Edinburgh, United Kingdom (Plant Systematics, herbarium methodology and management, and seed banking technology)

Key Interests

Plant Systematics and Medicinal Plants

Expertise and Current Research Interests

Systematics, phylogeny and reproductive biology of flowering plants; Annonaceae, Mitrephora, Ethnobotany, Medicinal Plants, Phytochemistry, Horticulture, Ecology, Invasive Species, Crop Wild Relatives, Floras of Sri Lanka, Thailand, China and Malesiana.

Contact Information

Office: P.O. Box 519; MS 2008, AGRL, RM 118, Prairie View, TX 77446
Phone: (936) 261-5011
Email: adweerasooriya@pvamu.edu

Recent Publications

Books / Monographs

Weerasooriya, A. and R.M.K. Saunders. (2010). Monograph of Mitrephora (Annoanceae). Systematic Botany Monographs, The American Society of Plant Taxonomists. (167 pp, 60 figures and 4 color plates: ISBN 978-0-912861-90-6).

Books / Chapters

Weerasooriya, A. D., and R.M.K. Saunders. (in press). Mitrephora. In: P. J. A. Keßler (ed.), Annonaceae. Flora of Thailand.

Li, B., Weerasooriya, A. D., and R.M.K. Saunders. (2011). Mitrephora. In (Eds.), Flora of China, 2011, v. 19, p. 687-688. Science Press & Missouri Botanical Garden.

Weerasooriya, A. 2000. Najadaceae. pp. 252-255 in Revised Handbook to the Flora of Ceylon Vol. 14, eds. M.D. Dassanayake and W.D. Clayton. A.A. Balkema Publishers: Rotterdam, Netherlands

Weerasooriya, A. 2000. Taccaceae. pp. 277-278 in Revised Handbook to the Flora of Ceylon Vol. 14, eds. M.D. Dassanayake and W.D. Clayton

Weerasooriya, A. 2000. Typhaceae. pp. 290-292 in Revised Handbook to the Flora of Ceylon Vol. 14, eds. M.D. Dassanayake and W.D. Clayton

Weerasooriya, A. 2000. Triuridaceae. pp. 286-289 in Revised Handbook to the Flora of Ceylon Vol. 14, eds. M.D. Dassanayake and W.D. Clayton

Dassanayake, M.D. and A. Weerasooriya. 2000. Alismataceae. Pp. 5-8 in Revised Handbook to the Flora of Ceylon Vol. 14, eds. M.D. Dassanayake and W.D. Clayton

Dassanayake, M.D. and A. Weerasooriya. 2000. Marantaceae. Pp. 239-245 in Revised Handbook to the Flora of Ceylon Vol. 14, eds. M.D. Dassanayake and W.D. Clayton

Weerasooriya, A. 1999. Alangiaceae. pp. 34-38 in Revised Handbook to the Flora of Ceylon Vol. 13, eds. M.D. Dassanayake and W.D. Clayton

Weerasooriya, A. 1999. Buxaceae. pp. 34-38 in Revised Handbook to the Flora of Ceylon Vol. 13, eds. M.D. Dassanayake and W.D. Clayton

Weerasooriya, A. 1999. Cactaceae. pp. 41-45 in Revised Handbook to the Flora of Ceylon Vol. 13, eds. M.D. Dassanayake and W.D. Clayton

Weerasooriya, A. 1999. Cornaceae. pp. 54-60 in Revised Handbook to the Flora of Ceylon Vol. 13, eds. M.D. Dassanayake and W.D. Clayton

Weerasooriya, A. 1999. Daphniphyllaceae. pp. 65-67 in Revised Handbook to the Flora of Ceylon Vol. 13, eds. M.D. Dassanayake and W.D. Clayton

Weerasooriya, A. 1999. Dichapetalaceae. pp. 68-71 in Revised Handbook to the Flora of Ceylon Vol. 13, eds. M.D. Dassanayake and W.D. Clayton

Weerasooriya, A. 1999. Linaceae. pp. 208-209 in Revised Handbook to the Flora of Ceylon Vol. 13, eds. M.D. Dassanayake and W.D. Clayton

Weerasooriya, A. 1999. Opiliaceae. pp. 173-176 in Revised Handbook to the Flora of Ceylon Vol. 13, eds. M.D. Dassanayake and W.D. Clayton

Weerasooriya, A. 1999. Trapaceae. pp. 208-209 in Revised Handbook to the Flora of Ceylon Vol. 13, eds. M.D. Dassanayake and W.D. Clayton

Weerasooriya, A. 1999. Moringaceae. pp. 124-125 in Revised Handbook to the Flora of Ceylon Vol. 13, eds. M.D. Dassanayake and W.D. Clayton

Dassanayake, M.D. and A. Weerasooriya. 1999. Hypericaceae. Pp. 114-117 in Revised Handbook to the Flora of Ceylon Vol. 13, eds. M.D. Dassanayake and W.D. Clayton

Wadhwa, B.M. and A. Weerasooriya. 1997. Simaroubaceae. pp. 4-9-415 in Revised Handbook to the Flora of Ceylon Vol. 11, eds. M.D. Dassanayake and W.D. Clayton

Wadhwa, B.M. and A. Weerasooriya. 1996. Passifloraceae. pp. 304-321 in Revised Handbook to the Flora of Ceylon Vol. 10, eds. M.D. Dassanayake and W.D. Clayton

Wadhwa, B.M. and A. Weerasooriya. 1996. Portulacaceae. pp. 343-351 in Revised Handbook 0to the Flora of Ceylon Vol. 10, eds. M.D. Dassanayake and W.D. Clayton

Wadhwa, B.M. and A. Weerasooriya. 1996. Erythroxylaceae. pp. 139-148 in Revised Handbook to the Flora of Ceylon Vol. 10, eds. M.D. Dassanayake and W.D. Clayton

Wadhwa, B.M. and A. Weerasooriya. 1996. Tiliaceae (Muntingia). pp. 410-412 in Revised Handbook to the Flora of Ceylon Vol. 10, eds. M.D. Dassanayake and W.D. Clayton

Wadhwa, B.M. and A. Weerasooriya. 1996. Violaceae. pp. 413-426 in Revised Handbook to the Flora of Ceylon Vol. 10, eds. M.D. Dassanayake and W.D. Clayton

Wadhwa, B.M. and A. Weerasooriya. 1996. Stemonaceae. pp. 383-385 in Revised Handbook to the Flora of Ceylon Vol. 10, eds. M.D. Dassanayake and W.D. Clayton

Journals

Yun-soo Yeo, S. Eric Nybo, Amar G. Chittiboyina, Aruna D. Weerasooriya, Yan-Hong Wang, Elsa Góngora‐Castillo, Brieanne Vaillancourt, C. Robin Buell, Dean DellaPenna, Dan Jones, Eve Syrkin Wurtele, Nick Ransom, Natalia Dudareva, Khaled A. Shabaan, Nidhi Tibrewal, Suman Chandra, Troy Smillie, Ikhlas A. Khan, Robert M. Coates, David Watt and Joe Chappell. (2013). Functional identification of valerena-1,10-diene synthase, a terpene synthase catalyzing a unique chemical cascade in the biosynthesis of biologically active sesquiterpenes in Valeriana officinalis. J. Biol. Chem. 288: 3163-3173.

M. Galal, V. Raman, B. Avula, Y.–H. Wang, C. S. Rumalla, A. Weerasooriya and I. A. Khan. (2012). Comparative study of three species of Plumbago L. (Plumbaginaceae) by microscopy, UPLC-UV and HPTLC analyses. Journal of Natural Medicines. 67:554-661.

ElSohly, M.; Gul, W.; ElSohly, K.; Murphy, T.; Weerasooriya, A.; Chittaboyania, A.; Avula, B.; Khan, I.; Eichner, A. and Bowers, L. (2012). Pelargonium oil and Methyl hexaneamine (MHA): Analytical Approaches supporting the Absence of MHA in Authenticated Pelargonium graveolens Plant material and oil. Journal of Analytical Toxicology. 36 (7): 457-471.

Rumalla C S, Ali Z, Weerasooriya A D, Smillie T J, Khan I A. 2010. Two new triterpene glycosides from Centella asiatica. Planta Med. 76(10):1018-1021.

Rumalla C S, Ali Z, Weerasooriya A D, Smillie T J, Khan I A. 2010. A new triterpene glycoside from Centella erecta. Fitoterapia. 81(7):751-754.

Weerasooriya, A., P.Chalermglin and R.M.K. Saunders. 2006. Mitrephora sirikitiae (Annonaceae): A remarkable new species to northern Thailand. Nordic Journal of Botany 24: 201-206.

Note: The Government of Thailand issued a postage stamp featuring flowers of this new species

Weerasooriya, A. and R.M.K. Saunders. 2005. The Genus Mitrephora (Annonaceae) in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. Systematic Botany 30 (2): 248–262

Karunaratne, V., K. Bombuwala, S. Kathirgamanathar, D.N. Karunaratne, K.B. Ranawana, D.S.A. Wijesundara, A. Weerasooriya, and E.D. de Silva. 2002. An association between the butterfly Talicada nyseus and the lichen Leproloma sipmanianum as evidenced from chemical studies. Current Science 83 (6): 741-745

Weerasooriya, A. and R.M.K. Saunders. 2002. Proposals to reject the names Mitrephora teysmannii and Orophea macrocarpa (Annonaceae). Taxon 51: 191-192

Weerasooriya, A. and R.M.K. Saunders. 2001. Mitrephora simeuluensis (Annonaceae), a new species from Simeuluë, Indonesia. Blumea 46: 595-598

Weerasooriya, A. and R.M.K. Saunders. 2001. Three new species of Mitrephora (Annonaceae) from Sabah, Malaysia. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 135: 305-313

Diyabalanage, T.K.K., G.P. Wannigama, A. Weerasooriya, L. Jayasinghe and P. Simmonds. 1995. Ursene carboxylic acids of Uncaria elliptica. Phytochemistry 40: 1311-1312

Popular Articles

Kushan Tennakoon & Aruna Weerasooriya. March 1998. Nature’s scroungers – The fascinating world of plant parasites. Sri Lanka Nature, WHT publications (Pvt) Ltd. 44-58

Aruna Weerasooriya. June 1998. Gordonia – a genus with fascinating endemics in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Nature, WHT publications (Pvt) Ltd. 23-24

Multimedia CDs

Contributor, Forestry Compendium (2003). CAB International Publishing, Oxon, United Kingdom

Synergistic Activities

Development of the PVAMU Botanical Garden and development of Medicinal Plant Research.

Collaborators & Other Affiliations

Botanic Garden Conservation International (BGCI)

International Plant Exchange Network (IPEN)

American Public Gardens Association

Professional Affiliations

Associate Faculty, Missouri Botanical Garden

Fellow, The Linnean Society of London

Member, IUCN, Species Survival Commission Indian Subcontinent Plant Specialist Group

Member, International Society for Horticultural Science

Member, Institute of Biology, UK

Member, International Association for Plant Taxonomy

Member, The American Society of Plant Taxonomists

Member, Botanical Society of America

Member, Society of Systematic Biologists

Appointments

Senior Research Scientist (Plant Systematics) & Administrator, Medicinal Plant Garden, National Center for Natural Products Research, The University of Mississippi USA:

July 2011 – Dec. 2012

Research Scientist (Plant Systematics) & Administrator, Medicinal Plant Garden, National Center for Natural Products Research, The University of Mississippi USA:

July 2005 – June 2011

Postdoctoral Research Associate (Plant Systematics), National Center for Natural Products Research, The University of Mississippi USA: July 2002 – June 2005

Postdoctoral Research Associate (Plant Molecular Systematics), Department of Biology, University of Missouri–St. Louis USA: Nov. 2001 – June 2002

Senior Research Assistant, Department of Ecology and Biodiversity, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong: April 1998 – August 2001

Research Botanist, Forest die–back study project, Department of Botany, University of Peradeniya Sri Lanka: May 1997– March 1998

Visiting Lecturer in Environmental Conservation and Botany, Wildlife Training and Education Center, Sri Lanka: 1996 – 1998

Visiting Lecturer in Environmental Conservation and Botany, Center for Environmental Studies, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka: 1996 – 1998

Visiting Lecturer in Urban Forestry and Arboriculture, Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka: 1996 – 1998

Visiting Lecturer in Plant Ecology and Conservation, University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka: 1996 – 1998

Consultant/Flora, Global Environmental Facility (GEF) Project for the preparation of the management plan for the Department of Wildlife Conservation Sri Lanka: 1995 – 1997

Plant Taxonomist, Revision of the Flora of Ceylon Project, National Herbarium, Royal Botanic Gardens, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka: 1992 – May 1997

Teaching Assistant, Department of Botany, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka: 1990 – 1992

Honors, Awards and Achievements

Leadership and major effort in the development of the Maynard W. Quimby Medicinal Plant Garden of the School of Pharmacy at the University of Mississippi. Acquisition and development of the largest medicinal plant collection in the United States (over 1500 species), seed bank, herbarium repository, designing of overall facility, administrative and laboratory buildings, development of International collaborations with 40 botanical institutes in medicinal plant conservation, research and education.

President’s research award: Government of Sri Lanka 2002.

Wang Gungwu award: The University of Hong Kong 2001.

Wang Gungwu award: The University of Hong Kong 2000.

Wang Gungwu award: The University of Hong Kong 1999.

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