The Eleventh Annual Scientific Sessions of the Institute of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biotechnology of the University of Colombo was held on July 12, 2019, at the IBMBB Conference Hall. Vice-Chancellor of the University of Colombo Senior Prof. Chandrika Wijeyaratne was the chief guest at the inaugural ceremony.
The inaugural ceremony commenced with the lighting of the oil lamp by Prof. Chandrika Wijeyaratne (Vice-Chancellor University of Colombo), Prof. Kamani Tennekoon (Former Director of IBMBB), Vidyajyothi Professor Rezvi Sheriff and Prof. Tara de Silva (former Acting Directors of IBMBB), Prof. Sagarika Ekanayake, Dr. Rohan Wijesundera and Mr. Shalitha Wijesundera, representing the Wijesundera Family, Professor Shiroma Handunnetti (Director IBMBB), Dr. Sisira Pathirana and Dr. Nadeesha Lewke Bandara (Chairperson and the Secretary of the organizing committee of the eleventh annual scientific sessions).
The Prof. Stanley Wijesundera Memorial Lecture is one of the key events of the inauguration ceremony. This year the Memorial Lecture was delivered by Professor Sagarika Ekanayake, a Senior Professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura. The title of the lecture was ‘Eat Rice to be healthy: Variety, processing and preparation’. The Memorial Lecture was a very informative and timely one, which described research findings on Glycaemic Index (GI) and glycaemic load (GL) of various rice varieties, preparations and processing using rice. According to Prof. Sagarika Ekanayake parboiled rice and/or non-polished rice elicit lower glycaemic index and thereby lower glycaemic load than raw rice and/or polished rice of the same variety.
The Eleventh Annual Scientific Sessions of the Institute of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biotechnology of the University of Colombo was held on July 12, 2019, at the IBMBB Conference Hall
‘Nadu’ has the lowest GI followed by ‘keeri samba’. ‘Basmati rice’ also has a medium GI and the Indian ‘basmati’ yielded a lower GI than Pakistan Basmati rice. The bigger grain size of the rice flour and lower water content in preparation (eg. rotti) also yielded a lower glycaemic value after a meal. More importantly, she explained that when rice is consumed with many different accompaniments (curries) in the typical Sri Lankan way induces further lower glycaemic response. Par-boiled rice which elicits lower glycaemic response would be a healthier choice. Thus, the selection of rice variety, processing rice for preparations and the way of preparation need to be properly considered for a nutritious and healthier meal.
Stanley Wijesundera, Professor of Bio-Chemistry at the Colombo Medical Faculty University of Ceylon, from 1970 till his appointment as the first Vice-Chancellor of the University of Colombo from 1979 to 1989 was the Chairman of the Association of Commonwealth Universities from 1983 to 1984.
He was born in Kandy and was educated at Trinity College, Dharmaraja College and Ananda College. Entering the University of Ceylon he studied at both the Colombo campus and Peradeniya campus graduating with a BSc (Honours) in Chemistry. Going on to the University of London he gained his MSc and gained his PhD from the University of Oxford.
On his return to Ceylon, he was appointed as a lecturer in the University of Ceylon, where he went on to become a professor of Bio-Chemistry, thereafter Dean of the Faculty of Science and later was appointed as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Colombo when it was established.
The scientific Sessions of the IBMBB comprised of three sessions for oral presentations and one session for posters including a total of 21 abstracts. The best presenters of each oral session and the best poster presenter were awarded certificates and cash awards with the kind sponsorship of the Wijesundera family.
Ms Ruchini Wijesundera, a granddaughter of Prof. Stanley Wijesundera delivered the speech on behalf of the Wijesundera family.