Akila Weerasekera, PhD
In March 2019, I received my PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Leuven (KUL) in Belgium. My PhD research centered on the non-invasive assessment of the onset, progression and therapy monitoring of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) using magnetic resonance spectroscopy and imaging. I used TDP/SOD/FUS animal models and patient data for the assessment of diagnostic utility of MRI and MRS. As a part of the therapy monitoring I conduct preclinical therapeutic trials in SOD mouse models as a potential treatment of ALS. As a side project, I worked on advanced MRS techniques such MRSI, MEGA-PRESS, sLASER and MEGA-sLASER sequence testing and optimization. My work also focused on MRS processing and quantification methods such as jMRUI and GANNET. In addition, I was involved in a number of external research projects related to brain tumors (mice), addiction, aging, neurodegenerative diseases. Now as a research fellow at Dr. Marco Loggia and Dr. Eva Ratai's Labs, I will apply my expertise in chronic pain related studies and learn other neuroimaging techniques such as PET and functional MRI.
Outside of work, I like to spend time with my family, read, play/watch soccer (Hala Madrid!) and cricket. I also write articles to a Sri Lankan newspaper on subjects ranging from Buddhism, science, international politics and Eastern philosophy.