The Institute of Chemistry Ceylon (IChemC) has dedicated to uplift the quality of life for a better world through the advancement of chemical sciences” for the past 40 years.
On par with its vision, this year IChemC took the initiative of organizing the first international conference on “Frontiers in Chemical Technology 2020 (FCT-2020)”.
The conference was organised in celebration of the institute’s 79th anniversary and addressed topics focusing on Innovations in drug discovery and development, Modern challenges in environmental and green technology, Alternative energy sources for sustainable development, Genomics and metabolomics, Innovative strategies in chemical education, Nanotechnology for sustainable development, Engineering technology in the chemical industry, Electrochemical and sensor technology, Chemical technology in food and agro-industry and Cosmeceutical, nutraceutical and herbal product industry.
The event was held at IChemC from July 20 to 22, under the guidence of a visionary leader, Prof. Priyani Paranagama, who was the Conference Chair and is currently the President of the Institute of Chemistry Ceylon. Professor Janitha Liyanage, Vice-Chairperson of the University Grants Commission, was the Chief Guest.
The keynote addresses were delivered by Prof. Subramaniam Sotheeswaran (Emeritus Professor, The University of the South Pacific, Fiji), Prof. Ashok Pandey (CSIR-Indian Institute of Toxicology Research, India), Prof. Amelia P Rauter (Vice President, Division III of Organic and Bimolecular Chemistry, International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry), Dr. Sarah Thomas (Senior International Development Manager, Royal Society of Chemistry, UK) and Prof. Neelakanthi Gunawardena (Director, Semiochem Lanka Private Ltd, Sri Lanka).
The plenary speakers at the conference were Prof. Ayanthi Navaratne (Department of Chemistry, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka), Prof. Suryanarayanan Trichur Subramanian (Vivekananda Institute of Tropical Mycology, Chennai, India), Prof. Dinesh Mohan (School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India), Prof. P A Nimal Punyasiri (IBMBB, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka), Prof. Nilwala Kottegoda (Department of Chemistry, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka), Prof. Todd Mlsna (Department of Chemistry, Mississippi State University, USA), Prof. Kapila Seneviratne (Department of Chemistry, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka), Dr. Sameera Samarakoon (IBMBB, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka), Dr. Rohan Perera (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, The Netherlands), Prof. Channa R De Silva (Department of Chemistry and Physics, Western Carolina University, USA), Prof. Deb Mlsna (Department of Chemistry, Mississippi State University, USA) and Prof. Namal Priyantha (Department of Chemistry, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka).
Other highlights of FCT-2020 were the poster presentation session held on the second day of the conference, and the special technical session held on the third day, dedicated to the Women Chemists Committee of Sri Lanka. Five women chemists, Lankani Hettigoda (Research and Development, Siddhalepa, Sri Lanka), Prof. Amelia P Rauter (Vice President, Division III
of Organic and Bimolecular Chemistry, International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry), Renuka Jayasundara (Managing Director, Analytical Instruments (Pvt) Ltd), Dr. K.M. Thilini Gunasekara (Senior Lecturer, Department of Polymer Science, Faculty of Applied Sciences, University of Sri Jayawardenapura) and Dr. Julie Franklin (Career and Professional Development Advisor, Royal Society of Chemistry, UK), shared their stories, inspiring all those who were present.
The organising committee led by Prof. Priyani Paranagama comprised Dr. Sameera R Gunatilake, Editor, Institute of Chemistry Ceylon (Conference Secretary), Dr. A A P Keerthi, Treasurer, Institute of Chemistry Ceylon (Conference Treasurer), Prof. Kapila Seneviratne (Editor-in-Chief), Dr. Ireshika De Silva and Dr. Chayanika Padumadasa, Joint Secretaries, Institute of Chemistry Ceylon, Prof. P A Nimal Punyasiri, Assistant Treasurer, Institute of Chemistry Ceylon, Dr. Dinusha Udukala, Assistant Editor, Institute of Chemistry Ceylon, Dr. Medha Gunaratna, N.M.S Hettigedara, Samadhi Nawalage and Sahan Jayasingha.
Frontiers in Chemical Technology 2020 offered a common platform for budding and enthusiastic chemists from scientific and industrial sectors to bond and join together in voicing their thoughts on how to commercialise their innovations and benefit the country and society economically, bringing about a revolution in chemistry and paving way for a better future.