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Siromi Samarasinghe
Works at University of Sri Jayewardenepura
Attended University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka
Lived in Sri Lanka
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Siromi Samarasinghe

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Floods in Sri Lanka - my small contribution to the displaced people of my country

Last Sunday night (15th), the sound of the rain woke me  around 3.30 a.m. The heavy down pour never stopped until the next day. The water reached my front door step, threatening to flow in. The garden had more than six inches of water while the road outside was like a river. The next day the water receded.

There are many who were less fortunate than me.

The adverse weather affecting Sri Lanka has resulted in landslides and floods in many parts of the country.   The death toll has increased to 71, whole villages have been wiped out due to landslides, many persons have been buried alive.

Though rescue operations are in progress the weather conditions are hindering the process. More than 375,000 people have been affected, many of them having to leave their homes and belongings .

The displaced persons are housed  in relief camps - located in schools and temples. In response to the request for donations, people are bringing in food, bottled water, clothes, linen, toiletries and many more items to the collection centers, to be distributed to the displaced persons.

This is my small contribution by way of soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, disinfectant and food. 
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+Thex Dar​ The water level is receding but there was another landslide. My area is safe. 
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Visit to some religious places and archaeological sites in Sri Lanka

Mahamevnawa Buddhist Monastery is an organization of Buddhist monasteries of Sri Lankan origin established in 1999, to support spiritual development using the teachings of the Gautama Buddha. Its main monastery is in Polgahawela, Sri Lanka. There are many branches of the organisation in Sri Lanka and abroad.

Somawathiya  is located in the Plonnaruwa District in Sri Lanka. According to chronicles the stupa  was built in the 2nd century BC and is said to enshrine the right tooth relic of Lord Buddha.  http://amazinglanka.com/wp/somawathi-chethiya/

Seruwavila temple is an ancient Buddhist shrine in the Trincomalee District in Eastern Sri Lanka. It was built during the reign of King Kavantissa (2nd century BC) enshrining relics of Lord Buddha (sacred forehead bone). http://amazinglanka.com/wp/seruwila/

Lanka Patuna is located in the Trincomalee District, on the East coast of Sri Lanka, its boundaries being the ocean on the east and the lagoon on the south. It is one of the oldest Buddhist temples and is believed to mark the place where the Indian Prince Dhantha and Princess Hemamala landed in the 4th century, carrying the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha from India. The ruins of the ancient Buddhist temple can be found scattered in a large area and a new dagoba (white structure in the photos) has been constructed. http://easternsrilanka.natgeotourism.com/content/lanka-patuna-trincomalee/sri021aa5fea65da408d

Thanthirimale temple located in the Anuradhapura District in the North Western Province of Sri Lanka, is said to have been built in the third century B.C. According to chronicles, the Buddhist nun Sangamitta brought the sapling of the sacred Bo tree under which the Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment, and while carrying the pot containing the sapling from India to Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka, has stopped  at Thanthirimale for one night. Ruins are scattered around the temple, and include two stone statues of the Buddha and several stone ponds. http://amazinglanka.com/wp/thanthirimale/
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I hope she adjusts. +David Ratnasabapathy​ looks after her during my absence and he takes really good care of her. 
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Cancer Immunotherapy

Since I started working at +Cancer Research UK, one of the first questions I asked the Scicomms team was "why aren't you doing Google HOAs on the amazing research that CRUK funds?". Because I've had a few years of experience hosting science HOAs and because of the thriving science communities on G+ would love this, I proposed a partnership between +Science on Google+ and +Cancer Research UK to produce and host a cancer HOA. The first topic we picked was Cancer Immunotherapy. 

Working for an organisation as large as CRUK that funds some of the best research in the world allowed me to access two of the world leading experts on the topic of cancer immunotherapy. After months of coordinating with various teams in Press, Social Media, and Scicomms, we finally did it! +Ben Willcox  and +Frances Balkwill  were fantastic guests, clearly explaining how important immunotherapy is, and how it works. It was also fun to tag team the questions with my co-host +Kat Arney. In case you missed the live broadcast, you can watch the discussion on YouTube here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5McTl469Wo

Feedback would be much appreciated, because I hope this will be the first of many HOAs on cancer research. On a final note, it's been absolutely wonderful to hear from the patients and families who are directly benefiting from these new drugs (via comments on the Event Page https://goo.gl/HdRWDr). It's inspiring to hear from them, and motivates me to keep doing outreach this way. 

#ScienceEveryday   #CRUKHOA  
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Siromi Samarasinghe

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Unbelievable! Gratitude and devotion, lessons to humans, from the canine community. I felt so touched reading this, I wanted to share with everyone who has not already read about this amazing , unbelievable story!  Many shares and reshares on G+.
I feel I should also share this, though I had my doubts at first, about it being an April fool's joke!
A group of stray dogs in Mérida, Yucatán unexpectedly showed up at the funeral of animal lover Magarita Suarez in order to pay their respects to the kind woman who cared for them when no one else w...
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Es hermoso.-
 ·  Translate
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A fitting tribute to historic female scientists on International Women's Day.
 
How many of them do you know?
#internationalWomensDay  and #ScienceSunday  
Before Marie Curie, these women dedicated their lives to science and made significant advances
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I haven't made any significant contribution to science, but yes, I'm the proud mom of a talented scientist! Thank you +Chad Haney
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Unsung Heroines of Chemistry
Mary Sherman Morgan, Alice Ball and Rachel Lloyd  - three chemists who have contributed  much to chemistry, but whose amazing accomplishments remained unknown to the public. One was a US rocket scientist while another discovered a better treatment for leprosy . The third is believed to be the first American female to get a PhD.
 
Unsung Heroines of Chemistry
Beautifully animated video by +Reactions showing American STEM women whose contributions are largely unknown by the public. Rocket scientist Mary Sherman Morgan "single-handedly saved the American Space Program - and nobody knows it but a handful of old men." Chemist Alice Ball is responsible for the enhanced treatment of leprosy. African-American chemist Rachel Lloyd was the first woman to publish in a chemistry journal; she was the first American woman to receive a PhD in this field and the second in the world; and she was the first woman professor in a co-ed institution. 

Hosted by analytical chemist Dr Raychelle Burks!

HT +Josh Witten 
#stemwomen   #chemistry   #astronomy   #woc  
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+Thex Dar
Most likely! 
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Siromi Samarasinghe

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A visit to some archaeological sites in the Ratnapura District, Sri Lanka.

The Batathota Cave also known as ‘Diva Guhawa’ (Day light Cave”) is a historical cave located in Kuruvita , Ratnapura in the Sabaragamuwa Province of Sri Lanka.

An interesting feature of this rock cave is the continuous dripping of water from the roof. The sun’s rays fall into the cave from sunrise to sunset; hence the name “Diva  Guhawa” . (Diva =Day, Guhawa = Cave). The growth of ferns from the moist surface of the roof inside the cave is a beautiful and unusual sight.

Originally, a strenuous climb through the rocky mountain would have been the way to reach the cave,  but now stone steps have been built making it easier for pilgrims to ascend to the temple in the cave. However, this construction does not blend well with the natural scenic beauty of the surroundings.

According to Buddhist literature, Lord Buddha has rested in a cave known as Diva Guhawa, with 500 disciples on his return from the holy mountain known as Adam’s Peak (Samanala kanda, Sri Pada) where he is said to have placed his foot print. The identity of Batathota cave as Diva Guhawa  was established by a highly respected Buddhist scholar monk in 1995. Until then the cave had been hidden in the thick jungle in the Batathota rocky mountain range.

Much earlier, a temple had been built in the cave by King Nissankamalla (1178-1207) who had accidentally discovered the cave on his way to Adam’s Peak on a religious expedition. It can be seen that the statues and paintings have been renovated and retouched many times over the years.

The view from the cave is breathtaking. On a clear day Adam's Peak can be seen in the distance. It is a pity that the original architecture has been changed by continuous addition of structures, thereby spoiling its natural setting.

Delgamuwa Raja Maha Vihara is an ancient Buddhist temple  in Sri Lanka, situated in the Ratnapura District.

During the last days of the Sinhala rulers there were many who claimed to be the King of Ceylon. It was accepted that ‘he who was in possession of the tooth relic of Lord Buddha was declared the King of the country’. Therefore, to be the legitimate ruler one would have to capture the Tooth Relic.

According to legend, during the Portuguese occupation of Ceylon, the Tooth Relic was kept hidden in this temple, inside a grinding stone.
The Kurakkan (finger millet) grinding stone which protected the tooth relic from the Portuguese for forty three years is displayed in the temple.
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+Siromi Samarasinghe 
Yeah that climb up would be a killer, of course coming down would be a little easier but still hard on a persons legs...  Then again I probably wouldn't have to worry about coming back down the climb up would do me in... (^_^)
Hope you have a good day Ms. Siromi.
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Siromi Samarasinghe

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Herbal Cancer Cure: Weeding out the Hype

A recent G+ post (https://goo.gl/pGDJUZ) claimed that artemisinin, derived from an ancient Chinese herb Artemisia annua, kills 98% of lung cancer cells in less than 16 hours. What's wrong with this claim?

◈ The comments fell into two categories: some outright disbelief If this is factual, it'd be amazing and More pseudoscience, Geesh! More common were conspiracy theories from the predictable, The W.H.O., F.D.A., C.D.C., etc. Can't patent it, so they can't make money off of it. to the bizarre, Funny thing is that the government gets their money off of cancer so I wonder if they'll make this illegal and claim it's got a side-effect that makes people experience what they would if they used Marijuana. Idk, but the government's gonna F it up somehow. Let's examine the claims and counterclaims. 

98% of cancer cells are killed by artemisinin.....in a culture dish! It's easy to kill cells in a dish -just ask my students :) These are in vitro findings. How about in vivo? Experiments done in rodents are indeed promising and have been reviewed and reported. Unfortunately, we scientists are excellent mouse doctors, and many drugs that cure cancer in mice under controlled, ideal lab conditions fail in the clinic. Does it work on humans? There are a few case reports of using artemisinin in humans. But, these are anecdotal and of limited use, since the patients were under chemotherapy anyway. What is needed are large scale randomized clinical trials with placebo controls to check if this herb is effective against cancers. Such trials cost a billion dollars and have not yet been done. 

Artemisinin has been safely tested in over 4000 patients...this claim from a doctor in a popular video (https://youtu.be/_Or8xLOGBu8) probably refers to a Phase I trial where only safety is monitored. Notice the doctor does not say if the herb was effective against cancer in these 4000 patients. 

The FDA will never approve it....wrong, because it is already an FDA-approved antimalarial drug. In fact, artemisinin in combination with other drugs is the gold standard for treatment of Plasmodium falciparum malaria worldwide. The WHO has negotiated with Novartis and Sanofi-Aventis to obtain the drug at cost, with no profit. 

Bottom line: Both sets of comments are off the mark! The potential of artemisinin as a cancer chemotherapeutic should not be dismissed as pseudoscience until proven otherwise. As for the conspiracy theorists, they're just wrong.

Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artemisinin #OpenAccess REF: Anticancer Effect of AntiMalarial Artemisinin Compounds. (2015) Das, AK http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25861527

#ScienceSunday  
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Good comments on the OP.
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Thanks for inviting me to join this group! I am a food chemist and my area of interest is in the chemistry of tea and antioxidants in food.
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Siromi Samarasinghe

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Rambutan
Rambutan on my tree,  have to share with the squirrels, bats and birds. They always get the bigger share!
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No, they missed the treat! Yes, the fruits are much tastier, it's a Malaysian variety.
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New cooking method to lower calories in rice by  increasing resistant starch

Abstract of paper presented to 249th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS):

Obesity is an emerging health crisis in many developing countries. To find food based solutions for obesity, rice resistant starch (RS) concentrations and novel ways to increase RS concentrations were studied. A total of 38 Sri Lankan rice varieties were tested; the RS concentrations ranged from 0.30 to 4.65%. The traditional rice varieties had significantly higher RS concentrations than old and improved varieties. Bg 305 had the least RS concentration out of all. However, applying different heating and cooling conditions with pure coconut oil showed RS concentrations increased by at least 10 times. The increase in RS content could be attributed to the increase in RS3 and RS5 types, suggesting potential to increase these types of RS in rice. This study results clearly show that rice, when cooked properly, could be a good low calorie food source for obesity reduction. In-vivo glycemic effects of RS studies are in progress.

(The above findings are in the news! I am posting it as it is linked to my country, Sri Lanka. However, I am unable to find the methods the scientists have used to arrive at this conclusion and would like to read the full text of the published work before commenting further).
Public Release: 23-Mar-2015 New low-calorie rice could help cut rising obesity rates American Chemical Society IMAGE: A new, easy method for cooking rice could reduce calories by as much as 60 perc...
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It looks exquisite, congratulations
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A visit to Lunuganga, a place of peace, tranquility, and natural beauty

Lunuganga is the creation of renowned Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa.

Situated on the banks of the Dedduwa Lake, in Bentota, Sri Lanka, the property had been planted originally with cinnamon and then replaced with rubber over the years, before it was transformed  to the magical gardens of Lunuganga ("Salt river") by Geoffrey Bawa.

Harmonising with nature, he changed the land to the peaceful retreat it is today, where one can sit for hours amidst the giant trees and the beautiful ponds or walk in the parkland by the paddy fields appreciating the beauty of his creation.
http://goo.gl/BAsW9c

(Geoffry was the brother of Bevis Bawa, who created 'Brief', a similar refuge of lush greenery and natural beauty not far from Lunuganga.
http://goo.gl/kWYgBc)
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+Siromi Samarasinghe  that sounds like my kind of place...  Thank you for sharing the wonderful photos.
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Education
  • University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka
    B.Sc., 1969 - 1973
  • University of Leeds, UK
    PhD, 1978 - 1980
  • Chemistry of Tea Flavanoids
Basic Information
Gender
Female
Story
Introduction
I'm a Chemistry lecturer  with a passion for science.  I teach food chemistry and courses related to phytochemistry at a leading university in Sri Lanka.  My research interests are in tea chemistry and medicinal plants. I am also interested in photography and  archaeology.
My posts are mostly on science, I contribute to Science Sunday regularly.
I also post about Archaeological sites I have visited in Sri Lanka.
I love nature and have spent most vacations visiting the wildlife parks in Sri Lanka.
Here are some links to my posts:

Nanotechnology:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/108612046527316778941/posts/cXBzAeEmrZ3
Mathematics:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/108612046527316778941/posts/aXvYWc4cqT5
Archeology:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/108612046527316778941/posts/XfyEdLaYnkA



I blog at
http://thearubigin.blogspot.com/
Bragging rights
Survived the University system for 40 years.
Work
Occupation
University lecturer
Employment
  • University of Sri Jayewardenepura
    Associate Professor in Chemistry, present
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Previously
Sri Lanka - Leeds, UK
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