Dr Prasad Senadheera

Senior Lecturer (G I)

Faculty of Natural Sciences

Select, 2rd floor, Science and Technology building, Room No : W5

Office: 112881003, Ext: 503 Mobile: 712279486

E-mail: spsen@ou.ac.lk psenadheera@gmail.com

As a Senior Lecturer in Botany I focused my work in the field of plant biotechnology, genetics and physiology. I coordinate two undergraduate courses: Plant Physiology, Plant bioinformatics and Plant cell and Biochemistry in the Open University. My research interest is in the field of Abiotic stress tolerance in plant giving particular attention to the rice. Besides, I am involved with university projects and several professional organizations including the Open University community outreach programme called Lifelong Learning for farmers (L3F) project which is funded by the Commonwealth of Learning.

Following summarizes the track record on my career development.

Passed out from the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka with the BSc Special Degree in Botanywith First class honoursand two gold medals for being the best outstanding student and best performance for plant physiology and biochemistry, my first job was the Demonstrator in Botany. After completing two years in there, I joined the Department of Export Agriculture in Sri Lanka as an Assistant Director where I was entrusted to manage the crop development and extension programme. Selection for this post was based on the performance at highly competitive island-wide examination for Sri Lanka Scientific Service. After one year service as the Assistant Director of Export Agriculture, I joined the Open University of Sri Lanka as a Lecturer (probationary)in year 2005. Meantime, I completed Post-graduate Diploma in InformationTechnologywith a project on Bioinformatics. This was a preparative work for the long pathway of career development.  I accrued sound knowledge in information systems management, programming and adopting IT for solving problems in biology. I also followed the certificate course in teaching in higher education in the University of Colombo

Then, I was in the University of York for my PhD research work in the field of salt tolerance in ricefrom 2007 under Commonwealth split-site PhD Scholarship Programme. I developed sound knowledge and skills on the physiological and biochemical screening of rice for abiotic stress tolerance (salt), transcriptomics, mutant screening, and functional validation of genes in heterologous expression systems, creation of breeding populations and screening for genetic effects associated with abiotic stress. Since this work was carried out in two different countries with different research cultures and facilities, it developed my capacity further to work in different cultures and under contrasting resource availability. After completing the PhD in 2012, I was promoted to the post of Senior Lecturer in Botanyin the OUSL where I have been devoting my time for teaching, research and administrative tasks for the last 8 years.

In 2014, I was chosen through a globally competitive recruitment scheme to the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) as post-doctoral fellow in molecular biology and physiology. I was working on the discovery of genes for the trait called grain yield under drought in rice. My work was in the fields of molecular biology, bioinformatics and genomics. This also included RNA sequencing project too. I went through training programmes in SNP data analysis, RNS seq data analysis and statistics for breeding trials at IRRI. Besides my role in research at IRRI, in 2016, I became the president of the Association of Trainees, Scholars and Fellows of the IRRI (AFSTRI) of which the members are from nearly 20 nations. I was also appointed to the IRRI seminar committee in 2016.

As a senior course coordinator of the two courses offered by the Department of Botany for BSc degree programme I have been introducing new innovative teaching and learning methods based on both face to face, online and mobile modes to improve students’ learning. The online learning platform of plant physiology became the highly accessed site in the OUSL in 2012/13.

I have also been appointed to key positions in many committees at the faculty, university and national levels. Besides being involved with high level decision making, this provides good arena for me to network and interact with many scientists in different fields of knowledge and with attitudes. This immensely contributed to develop my soft skills to a greater scale.

I am looking forward to devote my intellectual capacity to develop the OUSL and the research on rice abiotic stress tolerance to achieve food security in the world. At the same time, I try my best to bring up my children to the level where they could serve the humanity far more better than their father.  

Areas of Specialization:

Plant Physiology, Biochemistry, Plant Biotechnology, Genomics

Research interests:

Molecular and physiological basis of abiotic stress tolerance in crop plants (rice)

Improving the abiotic stress / salt tolerance in rice

Development of micro-propagation techniques for rhizomatous crops

Adopting Lifelong learning techniques in upgrading the knowledge and skills of the farmers




Programme Coordination:

B Sc in Natural Sciences Degree Programme

Course Coordination:

BYU4300: Plant Physiology

BYU3301: Plant Cell Organization and Biochemistry

  • Post-Doctoral fellowship in Plant molecular biology and physiology in the International Rice Research Institute, Philippines  in 2014-17
  • Asian Development Bank research grant under Distant Education Modernisation Project for research on salinity stress tolerance in rice 2009.
  • Invited speaker on ‘Unraveling the mechanisms of salt tolerance in rice’ in the Institute of Agricultural and Plant Nutritional Sciences, Martin-Luther-University, Halle, Germany Presidential Award for the Scientific Publication 2009
  • Commonwealth Scholarship for PhD research in University of York, UK in 2007.
  • ADB sponsored full Scholarship to pursue Postgraduate Diploma in IT at the University of Kelaniya in 2002.
  • Professor B.L.T. De Silva Memorial Prize in Botany for the most outstanding student in Botany in the University of Colombo in 2001
  • Sir Nigel Ball Award for Botany for the best performance in Plant Biochemistry and Plant Physiology in the University of Colombo in 2001.



  • Senadheera, P., Kumarasinghe, M., Perera, P., Watthewidanage, J.W., Weerasinghe T. K., (2016). Identification of User-Friendly Bioinformatics Tools for Courses in Open and Distance Learning. International Journal on Open and Distance e-Learning, 2(2)
  • Senadheera, P., Tirimanne, T.L.S., Maathuis, F.J.M. (2012). Longterm salinity stress reveals cultivar specific differences in root oxidative stress response, Rice Science,19(1), 79-84.
  • Senadheera, P., Saidi Y., Maathuis F.J.M. (2011) Rice cDNA Encoding PROLM is Capable of Rescuing Salt Sensitive Yeast Phenotypes G19 and Axt3K from Salt Stress, World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology 59. 1981-87.
  • Mian, A.A., Senadheera, P., Maathuis, F.J.M., (2011). Improving Crop Salt Tolerance; Anion and Cation Transporters as Genetic Engineering Targets. Plant Stress(Special Issue), 5, 64-72.
  • Senadheera, P., Singh, R. K., Maathuis, F.J. M. (2009). Differentially expressed membrane transporters in rice roots may contribute to cultivar dependent salt tolerance. Journal of Experimental Botany, 60(9), 2553–2563.
  • Senadheera, P. and Maathuis, F.J.M. (2009). Differentially regulated kinases and phosphatases in roots may contribute to inter-cultivar difference in rice salinity tolerance. Plant Signaling and Behavior, 4(12)
  •  Visit my Google Scholar Profile: Click here      
Ongoing Research:

Study on Ion Tolerance in Rice

GWAS on droughht tolerance in rice

Allelopathy in rice

Research Supervisions:

To be updated shortly


Research Communications:

  • Senadheera, P., Kumarasinghe, M., Perera, P., Watthewidanage, J.W., et al  M-learning for empowering women in a farming community in Sri Lanka by facilitating lifelong learning, 30thannual conference of the Asian association of Open Universities. (2016) Philippines.
  • Kottegoda V K, Jayakody R and Senadheera P.  Comparative study of the mechanisms of salt tolerance in cultivated rice and their wild relatives; Oryza nivara L. and Oryza rufipogon L . Annual Scientific Sessions, Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science, December 2014; Colombo, Sri Lanka.
  • Senadheera P., Tirimanne T. L. S., Singhe, R. K., Maathuis, F.J.M., Abeysiriwardena D. S. De. Z ., Different types of salt tolerant mechanisms in rice as revealed by the dynamics of Na and K ions in response to salt stress. Rice Genetics Symposium 7 (2013) . IRRI. Philippines.
  • Senadheera P., Kulasekara, G. U., Watthewidanage, J., Perera, P.P.D. et al., Capacity building of agriculture extension officers and farmers in ICT skills to minimize the digital divide and construct a sustainable social learning capital capable of using ICT for knowledge acquisition and sharing. Pan Commonwealth Forum 2013. Nigeria.
  • Senadheera P., Kulasekara, G. U., Perera, P.P.D., Liyanage, D., Watthewidanage, J., Mutual knowledge empowerment process of the lifelong learning based community development approach; a framework for assessing the agriculture related indigenous knowledge. International Conference of Indian Distance Education Association 2013, Hyderabad, India.
  • Senadheera, P., Wattewidanage, J., Kulasekara, I. G. et al., Livelihood improvement of rural agricultural society in Sri Lanka through development of lifelong learning in farmers. 26th Annual Conference of Asian Association of Open Universities, October 2012, Chiba, Japan.
  • Menike, J.M.D.R. and Senadheera P. Effect of Gibberellic acid (GA3) on differentially salt tolerant rice  cultivars in response to salt stress. The 31st Annual Sessions of the Institute of Biology Sri Lanka 2011, The Open University of Sri Lanka, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka
  • Senadheera, P., Tirimanne, T.L.S., Abeysiriwardhana, S., Maathuis, F. J. M., Mechanisms of Salinity Tolerance in Rice; Evidence from Physiology, Transcriptomics and Genetic Analysis. Poster session: 5th Asian Biotechnology and Developmental Conference; December 2010; Kandy,Sri Lanka.
  • Senadheera P.( 2008) Mechanisms of Salt Tolerance in Rice, SEB Plant Transport Group Meeting 2008, University of Manchester, UK.
  • Senadheera P. (2008) Unraveling the mechanisms of salt tolerance in rice, Plant Nutrition Colloquium, Martin-Luther-University, Halle, Germany.
  • Senadheera P. and Wijerathne G., (2005) CHEP: A computer program to find specific protein motifs, implemented for CTL epitopes. Annual Scientific Sessions 2005, Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science.


News Paper articles:

  • Senadheera P. Sad Plight of farmers of Sri Lanka; Biotechnology can help.  Daily Mirror, August 12, 2003
  • Senadheera P. Bioinformatics, A novel approach to biological science. ‘Vidusara’, October 19,2005


Course Books and Chapters

  • Senadheera P (2013). Bioinformatics. In Sinhala Encyclopedia. (pp. ). Colombo, Ministry of Culture and the arts, Sri Lanka 
  • Senadheera P (2013). Genomics. In Sinhala Encyclopedia. (pp. ). Colombo, Ministry of Culture and the arts, Sri Lanka .
  • Senadheera P (2013). DNA sequencing. In Sinhala Encyclopedia. (pp. ). Colombo, Ministry of Culture and the arts, Sri Lanka
  • Senadheera, P. and Maathuis, F.J.M. (2012). Transcriptome Analysis of Membrane Transporters in Response to Salinity Stress; In Sergey S. and Tracey T. A (Eds.) Plant Salt Tolerance; Methods and Protocols Vol. 913 Springer publishers. ISBN 978-1-61779-985-3                                                                                                                                                                                           
  • Weerahewa, H.L.D. and Senadheera, P. (2008) Short Course on Plant Tissue Culture for Floriculture, The Open University Press, Sri Lanka.
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