From: Sri Lanka
Degrees and institutions where received:
- Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc) from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
- Master’s degree (MSc) in Experimental Biotechnology from the University of Peradeniya Postgraduate Institute of Science
Saranajith Wangisa Dunuwille, BVSc, MSc, chose to pursue his PhD at the University of Kentucky (UK) because of his passion for research and the opportunity to build a career in academia.
Dunuwille said there aren’t many horses in Sri Lanka, so he only had a handful of equine encounters during his time as a veterinary student and short stint as a practicing veterinarian.
“The horse was this rare and exotic animal I was very curious about,” he said. “But what connected me with equine research was my interest in viruses.”
His research is focused on understanding and comparing the vascular inflammatory process equine herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1) and equine arteritis virus induce. Both viruses can cause abortions in pregnant mares and vascular inflammation plays a major role in these losses.
“My most valuable takeaway from this program has been the training I got in designing and conducting research,” Dunuwille said. “Also, it was a great experience working with lab mates from many different nationalities.”
He plans to finish his studies this summer. After graduating, he hopes to continue his research career either in an academic or industrial setting.
Samantha Geller is a communications intern for UK Ag Equine Programs.