Dr Deepani Fernando is a Post-doctoral research fellow at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute working on the molecular aspects of scabies mite towards the development of new therapeutics and diagnostics for scabies. She is a trained Veterinarian from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. She completed her PhD in molecular biology of Sarcoptes scabiei at the QIMR Berghofer and the University of Queensland, Australia. She was a Lecturer and then a Senior Lecturer in Veterinary Parasitology at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka before she joined as a postdoctoral researcher in the Scabies laboratory at the QIMR Berghofer. She is also an honorary fellow at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Queensland.
2019 – present: Research Officer, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute
2020 – present: Honorary Fellow, Faculty of Medicine, University of Queensland
2018 – 2019: Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
2013 – 2018: Lecturer, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
Scabies is a significant global health problem, yet a neglected condition prevailing in overcrowded and disadvantaged communities including Australian Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders. There are very few therapeutics available to treat this condition, and they are suboptimal. There are no vaccines nor molecular diagnostics for scabies. The scabies group at QIMR Berghofer is one of the few research groups working towards solutions to alleviate scabies and associated sequelae and has provided substantial knowledge about this disease in biological, molecular and clinical aspects. Under the supervision of Dr. Katja Fischer, the head of the Scabies Laboratory, Dr. Deepani Fernando is currently working towards development of highly sensitive, specific and affordable point-of-care diagnostics for scabies, which is a foremost requirement to detect and differentiate scabies from other similar dermatological conditions. In addition, she is establishing the RNAi methodology for scabies eggs, a tool to determine potential ovicidal targets. As most current drugs are lack of ovicidal activity, we aim to discover therapeutic targets in the eggs and to develop drugs that will eliminate the entire life cycle of this parasite. Dr Deepani Fernando is also involved in further projects in the Scabies Laboratory, which investigate the pharmaceutical potential of novel drug candidates for scabies. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9z9QioCAx8A