Sukitha Kothalawala specialises in innovative nanomaterial solutions to key agricultural issues.

Population growth has increased the demand for agricultural commodities, posing a threat to food security. It is therefore becoming increasingly critical to innovate affordable technologies that enhance agriculture productivity. As a solution, Sukitha's doctoral research focuses on the field of "agricultural nanotechnology" where he innovates nanomaterials that solve issues to enhance productivity in agriculture.

Sukitha Kothalawala's academic journey began as an award-winning student innovator at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka. He graduated (BSc) with first class honours as a food technologist specialized in chemistry. During his tenure at the same university, he excelled in his role as an assistant lecturer in chemistry and food technology. He then served as an analytical chemist in the Sri Lankan health ministry contributing to research in food related human toxicology in World Health Organization (WHO) funded projects. After winning fully-funded PhD scholarships from Curtin, Otago and UQ universities, he decided to pursue his doctoral study with Professor Chengzhong (Michael) Yu at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) due to his curiosity about nanotechnology and materials engineering. He has been an academic tutor in chemistry and a member of several societies at the University of Queensland. His goal is to contribute more to the ag-food sector.

Key publications

  1. Kothalawala, S., Jiao, J., Speight, R., Song, H., Yang, Y., & Zhang, J. (2022). Pore architecture influences the enzyme immobilization performance of mesoporous silica nanospheres. Microporous and Mesoporous Materials, 338, 111963.
  2. Kothalawala, S., Zhang, J., Wang, Y., & Yu, C. (2021). Submicron-sized vermiculite assisted oregano oil for controlled release and long-term bacterial inhibition. Antibiotics, 10(11), 1324.
  3. Zhang, J., Kothalawala, S., & Yu, C. (2023). Engineered silica nanomaterials in pesticide delivery: Challenges and perspectives. Environmental Pollution, 320, 121045.