Akila Wijerathna Yapa

Posted: Jul 23rd, 2019

PhD Student

Akila Wijerathna Yapa is a PhD student specialising in agricultural biotechnology in the Millar group at PEB’s The University of Western Australia node. Sri Lankan born and bred, before Akila made his way to Australia he travelled to Israel where he completed his masters in agricultural biotechnology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Passionate about the boundless potential of plant biotechnology, Akila hopes his work will someday help address global issues such as poverty, hunger and food security.

“I would like to pursue a career where I could work on the effective inclusion of science into policy directives and management. I want to be an innovative and resourceful biotechnologist with a passion to optimize the plant production and to meet the needs of a future world.”

In addition to his PhD research, Akila is interested in communication, and writes on a number of plant science topics such as GMOs, smart foods, gender equity in farming and agricultural trends, for the Sri Lankan based business magazine LMD.

“Agricultural scientists need to communicate with business to explain the opportunities our new technologies can provide for them and their customers. With the rapid growth in the number of companies working in agricultural biotechnology, and other science-driven sectors, there is a growing realization that effective communication between these companies and their stakeholders including investors and the general public is critical to their success.”

As an avid writer, it’s no surprise that English literature was a favourite subject of Akila’s in school, alongside science. It was during school that he became interested in science and began to plan for the career awaiting him.

“English literature and science were always the two subjects that I found myself to be most interested in and were usually the classes I looked forward to attending. I also had two amazing teachers who persuaded me to travel down the scientific path. However, I wanted to be in a lab, working on transgenic plants, GMO. So I decided to pursue agriculture in the university.”

Akila's directory profile can be found here.