Lahiru Gangoda

THE 2021 EPPENDORF EDMAN ECR AWARD: LAHIRU GANGODA

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute

Dr Lahiru Gangoda completed a BSc in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Following her undergraduate degree which sparked her interest for biomedical research, she moved to Australia and undertook a Master’s degree at La Trobe University in Professor Leann Tilley’s laboratory. Lahiru then joined the laboratory of Professor Nicholas Hoogenraad as a research assistant. During this time, she gained skills in monoclonal antibody production and screening. In 2011, Lahiru began her doctoral studies under the supervision of Associate Professor Hamsa Puthalakath at La Trobe University. Lahiru’s PhD research was based on mouse tumour models to investigate the role of cell death proteins in Carney complex syndrome. Her PhD resulted in six original research articles, including two first author publications in Cell Death and Differentiation and Cell Death and Disease.

In 2014, Lahiru joined the laboratory of Professor Suresh Mathivanan at La Trobe University and started working on a project to overcome chemotherapy drug resistance in colorectal cancer. During this time, she gained expertise in extracellular vesicle research. In 2016, she was awarded a prestigious Victorian Cancer Agency Early Career Seed Grant to support her research. Lahiru was the recipient of the La Trobe University’s Research Excellence by an Early Career Researcher Award in 2016 in recognition of her research contributions. Her 4-year postdoctoral position under the mentorship of Professor Mathivanan resulted in 16 publications including seven first author articles. She was involved in teaching, supervision and mentoring of high school, undergraduate and postgraduate students during her time at La Trobe University.

In 2018, Lahiru joined the laboratory of Associate Professor Marco Herold at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute as a Senior Postdoctoral Fellow. She has been working on several projects investigating the role of cell survival proteins in cancer and inflammation. She was awarded a CASS Foundation Science and Medicine Grant in 2020 to investigate methods to overcome treatment resistance in melanoma by blockage of cell survival proteins. Lahiru has presented her research findings at more than 20 national and international conferences and have received numerous awards in recognition of her work. The Eppendorf Edman ECR Award will allow Lahiru to attend an international conference and present her latest research.