The Department of Microbiology was started in 1980, when the Faculty of Medicine was established at the premises of Mahamodara Hospital in Galle. At first it was maintained as a sub-department under the Department of Pathology.
The first Head of the Department was Dr. Chandrika Perera.. At that time there were two technical officers working in the temporary laboratory started in Mahamodara Hospital. Faculty of Medicine, University of Peradeniya and Faculty of Science, University of Ruhuna at provided support to establish bacterial cultures by providing culture media and control specimens. Training third year medical students and microbiological tests for patients from the out-patient department were performed from the beginning.
In 1984, the laboratory was moved from Mahamodara to the second building of Faculty of Medicine, Karapitiya. In the same year, Dr. Chandrika Perera had left for overseas training and Dr. Sirimalie Fernando joined the department as a lecturer and conducted almost all the academic work
In 1985, the laboratory was updated with the equipment provided by JICA institution.
In 1987, the department was established as an independent department by a Gazette notification. A number of visiting lecturers, namely Dr M. R. M. Pinto, Professor S. N. Arsekularatne, Dr. Sriyal Peiris, Dr. Lalitha Mendis, Professor Ive De Fonseka, Dr R S B Wickramasinghe, Dr A. Sathasivam, Prof P D P Gunatilleke and Prof Jennifer Perera had contributed to the academic activities of the department. In the absence of Dr. Chandrika Perera Professor Anoja Fernando and Professor Pushpa Fonseka have functioned as Head of Department.
In 1991, Dr. Chandrika Perera went overseas on sabbatical leave and Dr. P. K. Kogulan has joined the department as a junior lecturer in the same year.
In 1994, Dr Chandrika Perera resigned from the department while on sabbatical leave. In 1994, Dr. A. De S. Nagahawatte joined the department as a probationary lecturer. Since then up to 1997 Professor P. L. Ariyananda and Professor M. R. Mohideen respectively served as the Head of Department. Dr. Nelun De Silva joined the department in August 1997 as a Senior Lecturer and was appointed as the Head of Department in September of the same year.
In 1998, Dr. P. B. V. Nawarathne joined the department as a probationary lecturer.
In 2002 Dr. A. De S. Nagahawatte was board certified as a specialist in Medical Microbiology and promoted to the post of Senior Lecturer in the department after completing his postgraduate studies.
Dr. W. M. D. G. B. Wijayaratne and Dr. S. S. Wickramasinghe joined the department as probationary lecturers in 2004 and in 2006 respectively.
In 2006 Dr. Nelun De Silva was appointed as the first Professor of Microbiology of the University of Ruhuna.
Dr. A. De S. Nagahawatte worked as the Head of the Department from April 2006 to March 2015
In 2007/ 2008, Dr. P. B. V. Nawaratne completed his overseas training and was board certified as a specialist in Medical Microbiology and was promoted to the post of Senior Lecturer in the department. He left the department and to assume duties as a Senior Lecturer at the General Sir John Kotalawale Defence University in March 2011.
Dr. W. M. D. B. Wijayaratne completed his overseas training and was board certified as a specialist in Medical Microbiology and was promoted to the post of Senior Lecturer in the department in 2012. He was the Head of the Department from April 2015 to July 2020.
After 14 years of service Prof Nelun De Silva retired from the Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ruhuna in 2011.
Dr. H. H. P. M. J. Thabrew joined the department as a probationary lecturer in 2011. She obtained her MD Medical Microbiology in 2017 and continued her post MD training in Medical Mycology to be board certified as a specialist in Medical Mycology.
Dr. S. S. Wickramasinghe left the Department in 2011 and rejoined the department in December 2013. She completed her overseas training and was board certified as a specialist in Medical Microbiology in 2016 and was promoted to the post of Senior Lecturer in the department in 2018.
Dr. N. P. Weerasinghe joined the department in 2014 as a probationary lecturer and completed her overseas training and was board certified as a specialist in Medical Microbiology in 2015 and was promoted to the post of Senior Lecturer in the department in 2017. She assumed duties as the Head, Department of Microbiology in August 2020.
Prof. A. de S. Nagahawatte became the Chair Professor of the Department of Microbiology in 2016.
Dr. Sunethra Gunasena, who served as a Consultant Clinical Virologist at the Medical Research Institute, Sri Lanka, joined the department in March 2018 as a Senior Lecturer.
List of Heads in the Department of Microbiology
- Dr. Chandrika Perera
- Professor Anoja Fernando
- Professor Pushpa Fonseka
- Professor P L Ariyananda
- Professor M R Mohideen
- 1997 – 2006 Dr. Nelun De Silva
- 2006 – 2015 Dr. A. de S. Nagahawatte
- 2015 – 2020 Dr. W. M. D. G. B. Wijayaratne
- 2020 to date Dr. N P Weerasinghe