PRAIRIE VIEW, TX – Dr. Aruna Weerasooriya is the most recent addition to the team of research scientists in Prairie View A&M University’s College of Agriculture and Human Sciences (CAHS) Cooperative Agricultural Research Center. Coming on board in January, 2013, Weerasooriya’s specialty is medicinal/herbal plants, and his research focuses on cutting edge methods of studying the beneficial compounds and extraction of the plant.
Prior to joining Prairie View A&M University, Weerasooriya was employed at the University of Mississippi. He earned a doctorate in Plant Systematics from the University of Hong Kong and trained as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Missouri in St. Louis and at the Missouri Botanical Gardens in Molecular Systematics to differentiate various plant groups.
Dr. Weerasooriya states that his aim is to establish the first medicinal plant collection using botanical plants, incorporate financial benefits to small farmers for becoming medicinal growers and establish a cash crop while creating the first 1890 botanical garden at Prairie View A&M University.
He also intends to work closely with the Cooperative Extension Program, the service component of the CAHS, to help educate the public regarding herbal medicines and the efficacy factor of research on certain medical drugs.