Faculty: Richard Gunasekera
Dr. Richard Gunasekera
Director of Graduate Studies - Biological Sciences
Professor of Biology
B.S., Baylor University; M.S. (Chemistry), University of Houston-Clear Lake; M.S. (Biomedical Studies), Ph.D., Baylor University.
Email: Click here
Sugar Land: Brazos Hall #327 or Lab #353
Dr. Richard Gunasekera is the Director of Graduate Biology Studies at the University of Houston- Victoria, which includes both coordinating the Graduate Biology program and directing the biological science laboratories at Victoria and Sugar Land. His main interests in teaching lie in effective communication of information to his students, stewardship and service.
Gunasekera earned his BS in Biochemistry at Baylor University, where he researched the synthesis of biodegradable polymers. He earned an MS degree in bio-organic chemistry from the University of Houston-Clear Lake and went on to an MS and Ph.D. in biomedical sciences while at the Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. He held a post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Neurology, Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
Before joining UHV, Richard Gunasekera led the Program in Bioactive Phytochemicals (Medicinal Plants) at the Center for Cancer Biology and Nutrition, of Texas A&M University's Institute of Biosciences and Technology at the Texas Medical Center in Houston. He continues to remain a major collaborator of this program, and is graduate faculty with the Texas A&M University System.
Dr. Gunasekera started his teaching career in the University of Houston system at UH Clear Lake in 1987 and has taught for the Texas A&M University System and Trinity International University. He considers classroom and lab instruction as his premier calling.
Gunasekera has presented a number of scientific publications and public lectures, and has received several awards, including a first place in oral presentation at the American Chemical Society: DFW.
Our main research interests lie in the study of Phytochemical BioActive Molecules (PBAMS) for the prevention and treatment of cancer and related disease. By studying these nutritive products in cells at the molecular level, we learn about their disease fighting, cancer chemopreventive and therapeutic role within the human body. A wide variety of Biochemical Genetics and Cellular Biological methods are used for this research. Independent research students are able to do research at the undergraduate level and participate.
As greater understanding of the biochemical mechanistic details are reached, these studies will further provide a rationale basis and guide for the optimum and safe uses of preventative food and exotic products; whose unguided use currently represents a growing multi-billion dollar industry.
R. S. Gunasekera and K. Hyland, In vivo Regulation of Phenylalanine Hydoxylase in the Genetic Mutant hph-1 Mouse Model, Molecular Genetics and Metabolism, 98: 264 - 272, 2009
R. S. Gunasekera, Cokenour, J., Sen P., Heath, D., and Han, M. "A Study of Kashin-Beck Disease in the homogeneous population of Tibet in China", European Journal of Human Genetics, 17:2, 247, 2009
R. S. Gunasekera, Cokenour, J., Arrambide, D. and Somasundaram, S. G. "Bioactive molecules from fruits and vegetables significantly potentiate traditional chemotherapy", Acta Horticulturae, 841: 55- 60, 2009
R. S. Gunasekera, Sewgobind, K., Desai, S., Dunn, L., Black, H. McKeehan, W. L. and Patil, B. "Lycopene and Lutein Inhibit Proliferation in Rat Prostate Carcinoma Cells", International Journal of Nutrition and Cancer, 58:2, 171 – 177, 2007
R. S. Gunasekera, K. Sewgobind, S. Desai, M. Moore, B. A. Rowley, D. Ochoa, W. L. McKeehan, L. Dunn, M.S., L. Geitz, J. Perkinson, and S. Somasundaram, "Differential Anti-Proliferative Activity of Carotenoids on Prostate Cancer Cells and Studies of PSA Expression in Prostate Biopsies", Journal of Nutrition, 134 (12): 3521S, 2005
R. S. Gunasekera, D. Arrambide, and S. Somasundaram, "Bioflavone 'A' Increases Chemotherapeutic Activity of Anti-tumor drug Camptothecin", Journal of Nutrition, 134 (12): 3521S, 2005
R. S. Gunasekera, Damodaran, H, Rajakarunanayake, Y., Hyland, K. The Significance of Linearity of Quantities in Electrophoresed and Blotted Materials Demonstrated by BandScan© - an Analytical Program, Proceedings of the IEEE Computer Society Computational Systems Bioinformatics Conference,