• Medical Research Institute - Sri Lanka

    The premier medical research institute in Sri Lanka
  • Medical Research Institute - Sri Lanka

    The premier medical research institute in Sri Lanka
  • Medical Research Institute - Sri Lanka

    Sky View

Natural Products

Department of Natural Products

Natural Product Department is running from the start of the establishment of MRI and it’s an integral part of MRI especially in Natural Product research. This is the only state owned laboratory in Sri Lanka which is involved in Natural Product research to discover new medicinal compounds from natural resources. This section links the traditional medical practice with the modern medical practice. This is the only lab in MRI where the scientific and qualitative researches are carrying out. It is designed and equipped enabling the researchers from any department to do most of their research. This lab is involved only in research activities rather than routine lab testing.
Post graduate and under graduate students from different universities in Sri Lanka take the advantage of this lab resources to fulfill their academic qualifications due to the recognition it earned by research for the past many years. Time to time it has contributed immensely towards the research and has published research papers in reputed journals.


Isolation and characterization of novel bioactive compounds with pharmaceutical importance for future drug development or to produce patents
Scientific characterization of the bioactivity of indigenous remedies or plant materials used in alternative medicine
Collaboration with industries to develop pharmaceuticals, cosmetics or novel remedies of indigenous medicine for economic gains to MRI
Establishing a central facility for bioactivity screening assays to provide service to other research institutes, Universities and private industries with an economic gain to MRI

Recent Publications

  1. Hewage R.T., Wijeweera A.A., “In-vitro anti-Candida activity of isolated pestalotin derivatives from endophytic fungal strain and its semi synthetic product”, ICNPGDD2015, 22-24 July 2015.
  2. Hewage T.H.N.R.T., Ganihigama D.U., “Pestalotin derivatives isolated from secondary metabolites of an endophytic fungus from roots of Xylocarpus rumphii (Koon thalam / Mudu delun) as anticancer and cytotoxic agents”, Scientific Sessions MRI Research Day 2014, pg. 23,30th July 2014
  3. Ranuka T. Hewage; Thammarat Aree ; Chulabhorn Mahidol ; Somsak Ruchirawat ; Prasat Kittakoop, “One strain-many compounds method for the production of polyketides, azaphilones, and an isochromanone: Media-dependent production of secondary metabolites by the endophytic fungus Dothideomycete sp.” Phytochemistry, 2014; 108; 87-94.

  1. Senadeera, S. P. D.; Wiyakrutta, S.; Mahidol, C.; Ruchirawat, S.; Kittakoop, P. A novel tricyclic polyketide and its biosynthetic precursor azaphilone derivatives from the endophytic fungus Dothideomycete sp. Org. Biomol. Chem. 2012, 10(35):7017-7228.
  2. Sureram, S.; Senadeera, S. P. D.; Hongmanee, P.; Mahidol, C.; Ruchirawat, S.; Kittakoop, P.    Antimycobacterial activity of bisbenzylisoquinoline alkaloids from Tiliacora triandra against multidrug-resistant isolates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. 2012; 22 (8): 2902-2905.

  1. Senadeera, S. P. D., Wijayarathna, C. D., Weerasinghe, I. S., Kulatunga, K. A. K. C. Antibacterial and Larvicidal Activities of Sri Lankan Endemic Plant, Vateria copallifera. Pharmacognosy Journal, January 2011, Vol 1, Issue 19, 75-81.
  2. Senadeera, S. P. D., Wijayarathna, C. D., Determination of Antibacterial Activity of Various parts of Vateria copallifera, International Symposium on Natural Products, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, June 26, 2010.
  3. Perera, M. G. A. N., Senadeera, S. P. D., Kulatunga, K. A. K. C.,    Antibacterial Activity of Root Extracts  of Walidda antidysentrica (Wrightia antidysentrica) Against Selected Bacteria of Clinical Importance, 2nd International Symposium of the Sabaragamuwa University, Sri Lanka, August 26-28, 2010.

  1. Effect of Dietary supplementation with coconut milk and soya milk on lipid profiles of normal free living Sri Lankan subjects.Ekanayaka RAI, Ekanayaka NK, De Silva PGSM, Perera B, Senadeera S.P.D. (Oral Presentation – 2012,  MRI Research day)

  1. Prevalence of resistance to antiplatelet agents in patients with coronary heart diseases in Sri Lanka.Ekanayaka RAI, Ekanayaka NK, Pushparajah T, De Silva PGSM, Nazlia N, Senadeera S.P.D.,Herath HMJP, Waniganayake Y (Oral Presentation – 2012,  MRI Research day)

  1. Antibacterial and antifungal activity in Flueggea leucopyrus  (Willd).Wijendra WAS.,Nicholas IHV, Rangama BNLD (Oral Presentation – 2012,  MRI Research day)

Collaborative research work done with Universities.

1.1. Screening of medicinal plants for anti fungal activity.

  • Department of Botany, University of Sri Jayewardenepura
  • Medical Research Institute, Colombo

1.2. Investigation of antibacterial properties of endophytic fungi isolated from Neoclitsea cassica

  • Department of Chemistry, University of Colombo
  • Medical research Institute, Colombo
  • Investigation of antibacterial properties of endophytic fungi isolated from Artocarpus   nobilis

  • Department of Chemistry, University of Colombo
  • Medical research Institute, Colombo

  • Isolation and antimicrobial activity evaluation of secondary metabolites of Walidda antidysentrica

  • Department of Physical Sciences and Technology, University of Sabaragamuwa
  • Medical research Institute, Colombo


Ongoing Research Work

  1. Antimicrobial activity and larvicidal activity in Holerrhena mitis and isolation of bio active compounds.
  2. Antibacterial activity of some selected local medicinal plants against antibiotic resistant bacteria
  3. Study of the effect of different forms of coconut on the lipid profiles of healthy free   living Sri Lankan subjects
  4. Study on safety evaluation of Carica papaya leaf extract in healthy volunteers.
  5. Investigation of biological activity of Oldenlandia umbellate
  6. Isolation and characterization of bio active components in Walidda antidysentrica
  7. Finding out antimicrobial, cytotoxic, and anticancer activities of products of fungal endophytes from medicinal plant Sphaeranthus indicus (Asteraceae)
  8. Plumbagin and its semi-synthetic derivatives as important scaffolds for the treatment of  dandruff cause by Malassezia sp.
  9. Development of Natural water purification system to introduce for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) prevalent areas in Sri Lanka


  • Head (Acting) – Dr. Darshan De Silva- Consultant Pharmacologist

  • Mrs. S. P. D. Senadeera –Research Officer

BSc. (Chemistry Sp.), MSc. (Chemical Biology), PhD (Reading)

  • Griffith University International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (for PhD), 2013 (Australia)
  • Thailand government scholarship (for MSc.),2010, Chemical Biology at Chulabhorn Graduate Institute, Thailand.

Research Interests:

  • Marine natural products chemistry
  • Chemical Biolog

  • Mr. Ranuka Hewage – Research Officer

BSc. (Chemistry Sp.), MSc. (Chemical Biology),

  • Thailand government scholarship (for MSc.),2012, Chemical Biology at Chulabhorn Graduate Institute, Thailand.

Research Interests:

  • Endophytic metabolites
  • Chemical Biology
  • Proteomics

  • Irosha Nicholas – Research Officer

BSc. (Chemistry Sp.), MPhil. (Reading)

  • Postgraduate studies on nano technology with an emphasis on natural products chemistry.

Research Interests:

  • Plant Natural products
  • Nanotechnology
  • Drug Discovery

  • P. G. S. M. De Silva -Research Officer

BSc. (Botany Sp.), MSc. (Statistics, Reading),
Research Interests:

  • Plant Natural products
  • Food coloring
  • Insect repellents

Workshop on “Uses of Natural Sciences in Medical Research”

Held on 29th of September 2015 at Aldo Castellani auditorium, MRI, from 9.00 a.m. – 4.00 p.m
The themes of the workshop:

  • Phytomedicine and Ethnopharmacology
  • Nano Pharmaceuticals, Nano Diagnosis
  • Unexplored aquatic world for future medicine
  • Medicinal values of Microbes
  • Natural products in cosmetic industry

Instruments and lab facilities