About Me

Growing up in Sri Lanka, one of the biodiversity hotspots in the world, I have always been fascinated by how resilient animals are to environmental change. At the University of Peradeniya, I majored in Zoology for my Bachelor’s and examined the population structure variation of palm squirrels in semi-urban settings. After graduating in 2006, I had the opportunity to serve the Department of Zoology as an assistant lecturer for one year. Later, I joined Prof. Perri Eason's lab at the University of Louisville for my graduate studies. I investigated the effects of landmarks on the territorial behavior of cichlid fish at a volcanic lake in Nicaragua. In 2014, I joined Dr. Emilia Martins lab, then at Indiana University, as a postdoctoral research fellow. My work as a postdoc is mainly centered on phenotypic plasticity of zebrafish, a bio-medically important model organism. I have led several field expeditions in India to identify natural zebrafish populations and was able to document the largest group sizes of wild zebrafish in the literature (Suriyampola et al. 2016). I am now based at Arizona State University and I continue to explore how sensory systems mediate animals to keep up with environmental perturbations.


When I am away from the lab, I enjoy exploring new cultures, photographing nature, and scuba diving.  



2016      Responsible Conduct of Research, Poynter                          Institute, Bloomington

2013      PhD, University of Louisville, Louisville

2012      Graduate Teaching Academy, Delphi Center,                        Louisville

2006      BSc (First Class Hon.), University of Peradeniya,                  Sri Lanka

Awards/ Honors


2013     Dean’s Citation Award, University of Louisville


2012     Best oral presentation, Zoology session,                             Kentucky Academy of Sciences


2009     Second place, Zoology session,Kentucky                           Academy of Sciences


2006     University Award for Academic Excellence,                         University of Peradeniya

Representative Grants/ Fellowships


2015 & 2016   Groups Summer Research Grant, Indiana University

2013                Doctoral Dissertation Completion Award, University of Louisville

2013                Graduate Student Union Grant, University of Louisville

2011                Guy Jordan Research Award, American Cichlid Association

2010                Biology Department Graduate Student Research Grant, University of Louisville

2010                Idea Wild Equipment Grant

2010                Graduate Student Creative Activity and Research Grant, University of Louisville