Wasana Sumanasekera headshot
Contact Information



Administration – Faculty
Associate Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences


Pennsylvania State University (Pennsylvania) – Ph.D. in Molecular Toxicology
University of Kentucky (Kentucky) – M.S. in Toxicology
Eastern Kentucky University (Kentucky) – M.S. in Biological Sciences
University of Colombo (Sri Lanka) – B.S. in Zoology & Chemistry

Post-Doctoral Training & Fellowship

Institute of Molecular Cardiology, University of Louisville (Kentucky) – Post doctoral associate
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Louisville (Kentucky) – American Heart Association fellowship

Fields of Interest

Cardiovascular Physiology, Environmental Toxicology / Substance abuse, Biochemistry & Cell and Molecular Biology, Cancer Biology, Pharmaceutical Applications of Nanotechnology.

SUCOP Research Initiatives

  • Investigate cigarette smoke-induced modulation of cardiac stem cell functions and responsible cell signaling pathway.
  • Determine the role of oxidative protein damage in cigarette smoke (CS) induced cardiac stem cell (CSC) malfunction, and evaluate the importance of vitamin C in attenuating this oxidative damage.
  • Detection of cigarette smoke induced changes in anti-oxidant enzymes in CSCs
  • Investigate the effect of cigarette smoke exposure on the ovarian cancer progression
  • Investigate cigarette smoke- induced modulation of inflammatory cytokine production in cardiac progenitor cells and in ovarian cancer cells.
  • Investigate epidemiological factors for ovarian cancer.
  • Heparin as a treatment for cancer; special emphasis on breast and ovarian cancer
  • Investigate nicotine addiction, health effects, detection methods, and smoking cessation
  • Investigate psychoactive properties, addiction, therapeutic uses, and toxicity of cannabis (marijuana)
  • Investigate the efficacy of multiple active learning strategies in a pharmacology course in an accelerated pharmacy curriculum
  • Investigate the relationship between pharmacy students’ exposure to biomedical audience and participation in hands-on multi-disciplinary research
  • Investigate the anti-cancer activity of cannabidiol & KY hemp extract.


Dr. Wasana Sumanasekera received her Ph. D. from Pennsylvania State University in 2003. For her thesis, she has investigated the Peroxisome Proliferator Activated Receptor (PPAR) signaling, PPAR associated proteins, and different PPAR subtypes. Upon graduation, Dr. Sumanasekera joined the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Louisville as a post-doctoral scientist.  After 2 months, she has been awarded the American Heart Association postdoctoral fellowship (2003-2006) as the principal investigator. She also worked as a lecturer / adjunct professor in the Department of Biology, University of Louisville (2006-2008), and visiting professor at Bellarmine University (2007). During 2006-2008, Dr. Sumanasekera was also employed at the Institute of Molecular Cardiology as a research associate. During her post-doctoral career, she was involved in several projects in cardiovascular physiology, cigarette smoke and diesel exhaust toxicology, and biochemistry & cell and molecular biology. Both her pre-doctoral and post-doctoral work created several peer-reviewed articles.

Today at Sullivan University, Dr. Sumanasekera has completed numerous research projects, presented in national meetings, and published her research in several peer-reviewed Toxicology and Cell and Molecular Biology journals. In addition, Dr. Sumanasekera has published abstracts, book chapters, and book reviews. She is a co-author of a U.S. patent, which was awarded in 2012. Dr. Sumanasekera is involved in the KY chapter of American Physiological Society (KY-APS) and served as the president of KY –APS during 2015-2016.

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