The Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery welcomed Professor Chamindie Punyadeera as a principal research fellow focusing on the development of salivary diagnostics and on improving the detection of throat cancers using non-invasive methods, recently.

After obtaining her PhD in Clinical Chemistry at the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa, Professor Punyadeera held postdoctoral and industry positions in the Netherlands.

She then moved to Australia, where she led the Saliva Translational Research laboratory at the University of Queensland and Queensland University of Technology, prior to her appointment at Griffith.

Professor Punyadeera is a pioneer in the salivary diagnostics field, with her research leading to the development of saliva-based tests for the early detection of heart failure and oral cancer.

Through her work, she strives to better human health outcomes, particularly in remote and rural communities, and is also passionate about inspiring others to follow a career in STEMM.

“I have had a hybrid research career, having worked in industry as well as in academia. In the Netherlands, I was part of a team that developed a rapid 30-second, road-side test for detecting drugs of abuse in human saliva,” said Professor Punyadeera.

“I began further researching saliva and its use as a diagnostic medium. Back then, salivary diagnostics was in its infancy.”

“I love discovery and more importantly proving the impossible through science. I love challenges and I embrace them as future opportunities. I am thrilled to see research from my laboratory translating to commercial products which lead to better outcomes for patients with heart failure,” she said.

Professor Punyadeera is excited to bring her research to the Griffith community and is eager to play her role in training students to be successful future researchers.

“When I see my PhD students developing into independent researchers, I find it very rewarding knowing that I have helped build the future generation of leaders in Australia.”