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DateLine Sunday, 8 April 2007

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Lanka to host international parley on Chemistry

Sri Lanka will host an international conference on Chemistry, "Chemtech 2007" from June 21-23 in Colombo. The conference organised by the Institute of Chemistry Ceylon (ICC) is themed "Chemistry, technology and innovation for greater safety and economic growth."

President of the ICC Mevan Pieris said that 23 internationally reputed scientists including reputed Sri Lankan expatriate scientists are scheduled to participate in the seminar. The conference will discuss topics such as bio technology, environmental chemistry, chemical synthesis and disarmament of chemical weapons.

Sixty research papers, 22 plenary presentations and three technical sessions will be presented, he said. The objective of the conference is to interlink and promote collaborative research of universities, research institutes and industries.

Pieris said that today these three sectors are doing research in isolation and hence it is less productive. The conference will bring new knowledge research experience and international research standards to Sri Lanka, he said.

The keynote address will be delivered by Prof. Leslie Gunatillake, director of the SW centre for natural product research and commercialisation at the University of Arizona, US. The theme of his presentation is "Chemistry for post-genomic era- New dimensions in natural products chemistry for the 21st century".

The opening day technical sessions will focus on chemistry for sustainable development and there will be six plenary presentations, 14 oral research papers and several poster presentations.

Prof. Barry Noller, Principal, Research Fellow of the University of Queensland, Australia will make a presentation on "short and long term environmental fate of pollutants and their management".

Prof. Noller is also the director of the National Centre for Environmental Toxicology, Australia, an authority on environmental chemistry. Dr. S.P. Vasireddi will make a presentation on "the art of analysis in environmental chemistry".

Dr. Vasireddi is the managing director of Vimta labs Ltd, Hyderabad and Asia Pacific representative to the World Association of Industrial Technology Research Organisation.

Prof. David Williams of the Cardiff University, UK will present a paper on "environmental chemical and health links; specialisation and speculation." Prof. Iqbal Choudhary will make a presentation on "green chemistry by using microorganisms and cell suspension culture". Prof. Choudhary is the director of the International Centre for Chemical and Biological Science, Karachi, Pakistan.

The post-lunch session on the first day will have two plenary presentations. Prof. Joseph Keriko, director of the Institute of Energy and Environmental Technology will present a paper on the "Use of plant natural products in traditional and modern medicine for the control of animals and human diseases for sustainable global development".

He is also the Professor of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya.

The second presentation will be made by Prof. Veranja Karunaratne on "Sustainable utilisation of Sri Lankan flora". Prof. Karunaratne, is an outstanding Sri Lankan researcher who graduated from the University of Peradeniya and obtained his PhD from the University of British Columbia, Canada.

The second day of the conference will focus on emerging nanoscience and technology. Six outstanding plenary speakers will address the second day sessions.

Another reputed Sri Lankan scientist Prof. A.P. De Silva of Queens University of Belfast, Ireland, will speak on "Molecular information handling, design, implementation and application". Prof. de Silva is an expert in photochemistry and is a graduate of the University of Colombo.

Prof. Raymond Fernando of the University of California will focus his presentation on "Nano material for plastic industry."

Dr. Rajendra Prasad will make a presention on "research trends in nanomaterials". He is specially interested to develop collaborative research and bring project based nanotechnology to Sri Lanka.

Two internationally renowned Sri Lankan nanotechnologists, Prof. Gihan Amaratunge of the University of Cambridge and Prof. Ravi Silva of the University of Surrey will also participate in the sessions. Prof. Amaratunge will speak on nanotubes and nanowires for electronics. Prof. Silva's presentation will be on "large area lighting and photovoltic devices using nano engineered organic tube composites".

These two presentations will be based on multidisciplinary interactive research between chemists, physicists and engineers and are targeted at academia and industrialists. Prof. L.M.V. Tillekeratne, Associate Professor of the College of Pharmacy, University of Toledo, USA will speak on "Nanochemicals for studying biochemical processes".

His presentation will cover work done by using nanoparticles for studying the cholinergic neurotransmission process with possible applications in medicine and bio-defence.

The final day session of the conference will begin with a presentation by Prof. T.K. Chandrashekar, Director of the Regional Research Laboratory of CSIR, Trivandrum, India. His topic is "Chemistry driven multidisciplinary research opportunities."

Chemtech 2007 will also focus on the area of chemical weapons to promote greater safety. The conference will discuss on hazard materials and disarmament of chemical weapons. Dr. Ralf Trapp, a renowned international expert and consultant on disarmament of chemical and biological weapons will speak on "Chemical weapons and disarmament".

The concluding lecture at the conference will be presented by another well known Sri Lankan scientist, Prof. Eugene de Silva. Prof. Silva who holds a double PhD in Chemistry from Knightsbridge University UK and in Plasma Physics Manchester Metropolitan University is also a graduate of the Institute of Chemistry Ceylon.

He is the Director of the Virginia Research Institute USA. The conference is open to all those interested.

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