Graduate Research Highlights

November 2023: Lahiruni M. Halwatura

Lahiruni M. Halwatura, 5th year PhD student in Dr. Aga's lab.

Person smiling wearing gold earrings, necklace, black shirt and brown plaid jacket.

Notable recent achievements

Awards and Recognitions

  • Department of Chemistry fellowship for outstanding performance, University at Buffalo, 2023
  • Medicinal Chemistry Research Fellowship, Department of Chemistry, University at Buffalo, 2023
  • ACS AGRO division Education Awards for Student Travel, ACS Fall San Francisco, 2023
  • Summer research awards, University at Buffalo, 2023
  • Petra and Baudilio Colón Travel Award, University at Buffalo, 2022
  • Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz water specialist grant for young researchers, 2021


  • Halwatura, L. M.; Aga, D. S., Broad-range extraction of highly polar to non-polar organic contaminants for inclusive target analysis and suspect screening of environmental samples. Sci Total Environ 2023, 893, 164707.
  • Aga, D. S.; Halwatura, L. M., Wastewater Surveillance of Pharmaceuticals and Genes: Challenges and Opportunities. LCGC NORTH AMERICA 2022, 40 (8), 351-354.
  • Halwatura L.M.; Mclerran I. S; Weglarski D.L.; Ahmed Z. U.; Ye Y.; Bradley; I. M.; Aga D. S., Complementing RNA detection with pharmaceutical monitoring for early-warning of viral outbreaks through wastewater-based epidemiology. ACS ES&T Letters 2022, 9 (6), 567-574.
  • Angeles, L. F.;  Halwatura, L. M.;  Antle, J. P.;  Simpson, S.;  Jaraula, C. M.; Aga, D. S., In Silico Supported Nontarget Analysis of Contaminants of Emerging Concern: Increasing Confidence in Unknown Identification in Wastewater and Surface Waters. ACS ES&T Water 2021, 1 (8), 1765–1775.

Research highlight

My research primarily focuses on the analysis of emerging contaminants and other biomarkers for assessing community health through wastewater-based epidemiology. In particular, the development of effective sample preparation techniques for the analysis of complex aqueous environmental matrices using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) and high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) methods.

At UB, I have the privilege of working with an exceptional mentor who provides outstanding research opportunities and guidance, fueling my passion for both knowledge acquisition and contributing to scientific advancements. Moreover, the Department of Chemistry's dynamic academic environment and supportive community further enhanced my experience.

Outside of the lab, I enjoy experimenting with cooking and exploring new cuisines, always seeking to expand my culinary horizons.

Congratulations, Lahiruni!

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