Profile image of Rasika Samarasinghe

Dr Rasika Samarasinghe





Faculty of Health


School of Medicine


Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus


Graduate Certificate of Higher Education Learning and Teaching, Deakin University, 2019
Doctor of Philosophy, Deakin University, 2014


Dr Samarasinghe completed her PhD in Medicine in 2014 at Deakin University and joined Prof. David Ashley's laboratory as a postdoctoral research fellow in 2015, where her work involved understanding epigenetic mechanisms regulated in major diseases such as cancers and degenerative disorders and to identify novel targets and therapies. Her work contributed to the initiation of a Victoria based clinical trial on aggressive childhood brain cancers, which used a new combination of chemo and epigenetic drugs as alternative therapy options. In 2018, she joined the School of Medicine as an academic and established her laboratory, Translational Epigenomic Research and Therapeutics.

Her group investigates how the epigenome regulates mechanisms in diseases such as childhood and adult cancers, mental health and degenerative disorders. Using different molecular and genome based technologies together with 3D cell culturing, stem cells and organoid techniques, her lab aims to understand these genetic and epigenetic changes in diseases, with a view of identifying novel targets for diagnosis and therapeutics.

Read more on Rasika's profile

Research interests

Epigenetic mechanisms and therapeutics

Cancer, mental health and degenerative disorders



Australian Epigenetic Alliance (from 2020)

Inflammation Research Association (from 2010)

American Association for the Advancement of Science (from 2010)

Golden Key International Honour Society (from 2008)

Teaching interests


Medical Biotechnology




Units taught

HMM102: Principles of Gene and Genomic Technology, Unit Chair: 2018- current

HMM103: Cell Technology, Unit chair: 2018 - curent

Guest lecturer:

HMM101: Introduction to Medical Biotechnology

HMM202: Molecular Diagnostics

HMM302: Innovation in Medical Biotechnology

HMM301: Priciples of Pharmacology

HBS400: Research Methods

Knowledge areas

Epigenetics, Cancer, Bone and Inflammatory disorders, Mental health, Drug and Cell therapy


  • Lorne Cancer Conference, Lorne, 2021
  • Childhoo cancer symposium, Melbourne, 2019, 2020, 2021.
  • 3rd Australian Cancer & Metabolism Meeting, Sydney, 2019
  • 14th Asian Society for Neuro-Oncology (ASNO) Meeting, Osaka, Japan, 2017.
  • 10th COGNO Annual Scientific Meeting: Tailoring Therapies for Brain Tumours: Challenges and Opportunities, Melbourne, Australia, 2017.
  • 13th Asian Society for Neuro-Oncology Meeting/ 9th COGNO Annual Scientific Meeting, Sydney, Australia, 2016.
  • Barwon Health Research Week, Geelong, Australia, 2015.
  • Weizmann symposium – Future directions in cancer biology & targeted therapeutics, Melbourne, Australia, 2015.
  • 17th International Inflammation Research Association Conference, New York, USA, 2012.
  • 3rd Sydney International Nanomedicine Conference, Sydney, Australia, 2012.
  • 2nd Sydney International Nanomedicince conference, Sydney, Australia, 2011.


  • Best ECR research contribution, Cancer Metabolism (Sydney, 2019)
  • COGNO-Bristol-Myers Squibb Young Investigator Award nominee (Brisbane, 2017)
  • Scientist Prize – Most Outstanding Research Presentation - Barwon Health Research Week, Geelong (2015)
  • Early Career Researcher - Best Top 5 presentations - Weizmann symposium – Future directions in cancer biology & targeted therapeutics, Melbourne (2015)
  • Publication Scholarship - Deakin University (2013)
  • Best PhD poster presentation - 17th International Inflammation Research Association Conference, New York, USA (2012)
  • Best 3rd/4th year PhD oral presenter - Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM), Annual Research Conference (2012)
  • Best 1st year PhD oral presenter, Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM), Annual Research Conference (2009)


No publications found

Funded Projects at Deakin

Other Public Sector Funding

Antipsychotic use and osteoporotic fracture risk.

Prof Lana Williams, Prof Julie Pasco, Dr Jason Hodge, Dr Rasika Samarasinghe, Ms Dona Kavindi Madushani Weerasinghe

International Education Resilience Fund

  • 2023: $9,000


Principal Supervisor

Jake Erich William Mazur

Thesis entitled: Natural therapeutics coupled with nanotechnology, advancing Glioblastoma Multiforme treatment efficacy.

MAppSc (Medicine) (High cost), School of Medicine

Tulika Basak

Thesis entitled: Targeting iron overload: A potential approach towards glioblastoma therapy

Doctor of Philosophy (Medicine), School of Medicine


Naznin Akhtar

Thesis entitled: Theranostic Applications of Zinc Ferrite Nanoparticles for Colorectal Cancer

Doctor of Philosophy (Medicine), School of Medicine

Associate Supervisor

Izel Eraslan

Thesis entitled: Anatomical and Functional Characterisation of Relaxin Family Peptide 3 Receptor

Doctor of Philosophy (Medicine), School of Medicine

Bakhtiar Affendi Bin Bukari

Thesis entitled: Development of an Aptamer-based Drug Delivery System into the Brain

Master of Philosophy (Medicine), School of Medicine


Jasmine Cleminson

Thesis entitled: Serotonin and Bone Metabolism

Doctor of Philosophy (Medicine), School of Medicine


Vinoomika Chandrasekaran

Thesis entitled: Bipolar Disorder, Associated Treatments and Bone Health

Doctor of Philosophy (Medicine), School of Medicine