Graduate Research Spotlight: Anuradha Liyanage | College of Science
September 13, 2022

Graduate Research Spotlight: Anuradha Liyanage

Anuradha Liyanage is a PhD candidate in the UNT chemistry department, working with Dr. Francis D'Souza on her doctoral thesis. Her research projects mainly focus on studying novel organic molecular systems that can harvest solar energy by mimicking the natural photosynthesis process.

"In this century, renewable energy is one of the most important topics and is gaining more attention due to direct impact on current environmental problems," said Anuradha. "My research is mainly focused on studying the supramolecular systems which will help to improve the solar energy harvesting efficiency in solar cells."

Anuradha said that she was inspired to pursue this research because of the direct impact it could have in reducing environmental pollution through the efficient harvesting of clean energy.

"I hope to introduce novel supramolecular systems capable of mimicking natural photosynthesis to develop solar cells with excellent energy harvesting ability," she said. "I also want to introduce advanced energy materials for anion sensing, photovoltaic, optoelectronic, imaging, and photodynamic therapy applications."

For her undergraduate studies, Anuradha studied chemistry and biology. It was then she discovered her interest in energy harvesting and analytical chemistry, and she chose the University of North Texas to pursue her doctorate because of the Tier One facilities and experiences offered by the UNT chemistry department and Dr. D'Souza's lab.

"As my mentor, Dr. D'Souza's experience and research discussions are very valuable in helping me complete research projects," she said. "The most important thing I have learned at UNT is that hard work is always rewarding. I have also learned to appreciate that teamwork and collaboration greatly improves my working environment and productivity."

Anuradha's advice for those who are interested in pursuing research is to find the field that they love most and start there. "Always be up to date with the latest findings and studies," she said. "Be sure to do thorough literature surveys before you start or design your research."

Anuradha was recently a recipient of the College of Science's Dean's Doctoral Summer Research Stipend, which helped her focus on her research through the summer months. After earning her PhD, she hopes to continue her journey in science to become a researcher in an industry where her discoveries are utilized for the greater good.

To learn more about Dr. D'Souza's lab, visit

Help support graduate research at the UNT College of Science by making a donation to the Dean's Doctoral Summer Stipend Fund today: