Ganga Fernando, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Chemistry

Ph.D., Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
B.S., University of Sri Jeyawardenepura, Sri Lanka;

Email: gfernando@cottey.edu

Dr. Ganga Fernando grew up in Sri Lanka; a small island in Indian Ocean. She obtained her BS degree in Chemistry (honors) at the University of Sri Jayawardenepura, Sri Lanka and Attorney at Law degree from Sri Lanka Law College in Colombo. In 2002, she joined University of Texas at Arlington for her doctoral studies in Analytical Chemistry (she still considers Texas ‘my US home’). In 2005, she moved to Southern Illinois University, Carbondale to continue her research under Dr. Gary Kinsel. She received her PhD in Chemistry in 2009. Her research thesis topic is “Pulsed Plasma Modified surfaces for On-Probe affinity fractionation of complex protein mixtures and analysis by Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization (MALDI) Mass Spectrometry”.

Dr. Fernando Joined Cottey College in 2008 and is an active member of American Chemical Society, American Society for Mass Spectrometrists, SigmaXi scientific research society and Alpha Chi Sigma professional chemists society.

In addition to teaching General Chemistry, Introduction to Forensic Chemistry, Principles of Analytical Chemistry and Quantitative analysis classes and laboratories, she offers Research in Chemistry every semester. She was awarded a Missouri Campus Compact mini grant for her Chemistry Outreach project “C3O – Cottey Chemistry Community Outreach”. She is active in field of Mass Spectrometry and continues to attend conferences and pursue research opportunities during summer months.She serves as the Advisor of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and International Student Organization at Cottey College. NEW!!! Second year trip to Sri Lanka and India: Check out our Facebook page for more information on the college sponsored 12 day trip to Sri Lanka and India during Spring break 2018. Dr. Fernando and Dr. Roy accompanied 10 Cottey college students on this amazing learning and service learning opportunity to their home countries.

Courses Taught

CHE/PHY 102 Fundamentals of Physical Sciences (on-line only)
CHE 120/121 Introduction to Chemistry (lecture and lab)
IDS 190 Opportunities in Undergraduate Research: PTK
CHE 110/112 Introduction to Forensic Chemistry (lecture and lab)
CHE 210/211 (Fall) and CHE 212/213 (Spring) General Chemistry I and II (lecture and lab)
Principles of Analytical Chemistry and Qualitative Analysis laboratory
CHE 295 Research in Chemistry

NEW: In Fall 2018, we are offering Principles of Analytical Chemistry course and the lab (Quantitative analysis laboratory). This sequence of courses may not be offered again for two years depending on the demand.

CHE 310/311 Principles of Analytical Chemistry and Qualitative Analysis laboratory – Fall 2018

Lecture: MWF 9:00-9:50 a.m.

Quantitative Analysis Lab Tuesday 4:00-5:00 p.m. and Thursday 2:00-5:00 p.m.

The laboratory component will be one hour of recitation on Tuesday afternoon and three hours of laboratory work on Thursday afternoon.

To take Analytical chemistry, you have to have a C or higher in General Chemistry II.

Sample list of topics covered:

Unit 1

The Analytical Process (CH 0), Measurements (CH 1)

Tools of the trade (CH 2), Experimental Error (CH 3)
Statistics (CH 4), Quality assurance and Calibration methods (CH 5)

Unit 2

Chemical Equilibrium (CH 6, 7, 8, 9)

Titrations (CH 10, 11)

Unit 3

Electrochemistry (CH 13, 14)

Redox titrations (CH 15)
Spectrophotometry (CH 17, 18, 19)

Unit 4

Introduction to analytical separations (CH 22, 23, 24)

Gravimetric Analysis, Precipitation titrations and combustion analysis (CH 26)

CHE/HSC 410 Principles of Medical Diagnostics (lecture) Spring 2019

Course description

Chemical and biochemical principles behind clinical diagnostic testing will be discussed in this course. Learning the analytical techniques, instrumentation and history behind the testing methods will give the students a clear understanding of cutting edge medical diagnostics and the research and development of novel methods. Topics covered include techniques, such as, mass spectrometry, chromatography, UV and IR spectroscopy, proteomics, flow cytometry, fluorescence resonance energy transfer, microarrays, microfluidics, biomarker analysis and nanotechnology, for different fields of medical diagnostics, such as, cancer detection, diabetes testing, human breath analysis, identification of microorganisms, newborn screening, endocrinology, drug therapy, peptide and protein markers, mass-spectrometric imaging. All topics will be introduced with historical perspective, research and development and trends of diagnostics industry.

Rationale or explanation of need for course: Today’s undergraduate students are highly encouraged to gain understanding and hands on experience on laboratory research and instrumentation before entering graduate school or job market. More and more summer internships both at academic institutions and industry have become available for students who are at senior level of their study in the fields of biomedical/biochemical applications (For more information of interdisciplinary research internship opportunities see Research Experience for Undergraduates: NSF https://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/reu/list_result.jsp?unitid=5048).

This course will be beneficial to students who are interested in going into research in chemistry, biochemistry, biomedical sciences and health sciences. According to K. Barbara Schowen of University of Kansas, research experience as an undergraduate student is an essential part of science education which contributes to more informed career decisions, results in increased personal confidence and better appreciation and understanding of science. Understanding of diagnostic tools and scientific principles behind these techniques will prepare them to enter the job market at most entry level analytical laboratories throughout the country.

The students will read and summarize several recent review articles (for example, Ion Dissociation Methods in Proteomics, Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry, Protein analytical assays for diagnosing, monitoring, and choosing treatment for cancer patients, J Healthc Eng. 2012 December) which will increase their overall understanding of the application and interconnectedness of Organic chemistry, Analytical chemistry, biochemistry and biology in real world, specifically in the field of health science.

Sample list of topics covered

All topics will be introduced with 1) historical perspective, 2) research and development and 3) trends of diagnostics industry.

Common Medical diagnostics techniques:

Mass spectrometry, proteomics, peptide and protein markers, mass-spectrometric imaging

Chromatography, microfluidics, microarrays

UV and IR spectroscopy

Flow cytometry

Fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET)

Biomarker analysis and nanotechnology

Cancer detection

Diabetes testing

Human breath analysis

Identification of microorganisms

New-born screening


Research Interests

Proteomic Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization (MALDI) Mass Spectrometry
Forensic Application of mass spectrometry
Cyanotoxins analysis in lakes and drinking water supplies around Nevada, MO

Effect of heavy metals on the growth of cyanobacteria

Disability and Rehabilitation in Developing Nations: Sabbatical Research in Sri Lanka

During the summer and fall 2017 semesters, Dr. Ganga Fernando spent seven months in her native country of Sri Lanka in order to gain knowledge of access to healthcare for disabled children following the 25-year civil war. Dr. Fernando conducted her research in collaboration with two colleagues who specialize in the healthcare field and received permission to complete this work from Rajarata University and from His Excellency, the President of Sri Lanka. The research was composed of meeting with specialized healthcare providers at healthcare facilities, visiting special programs and schools for disabled children, and conducting home visits with parents of disabled children in rural locations throughout the country. Shortly after arrival in Sri Lanka, Dr. Fernando attended the 3rd International Conference on Public Health: Strengthening the Public Health Infrastructure Towards Healthy Communities in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In November, Dr. Fernando attended the 2nd World Conference on Disability and Rehabilitation: Inspiring Possibilities…Enhancing Opportunities for Ability in Colombo, Sri Lanka. During the spring-break trip to Sri Lanka this March, Dr. Fernando will introduce students to her collaborators and visit one of the healthcare facilities with which she became familiar as part of her research project. Dr. Fernando hopes to present her research next year at the 4th Global Health Conference Midwest hosted by the Creighton University School of Medicine.)

Useful Links

American Chemical Society
American Society for Mass Spectrometry
Journal of Chemical Education
National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST)

Summer Research internships for undergraduates

REU – National science Foundation
American Association of University Women
Association for Women in Science
Association for Women in Science Summer
Brookhaven National Laboratory
Department of Education, Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships (SULI)
Intern Match
Internship Programs
National Academies of Science
Forbes: Best IT Internships
Science Careers: Making Your Summer Research Internship a Good One
Hispanic Network Magazine: Top STEM Employers

Selected Publications

  • Kolli, V., Roth, H. A., De La Cruz, G., Fernando, G.S., Dodds, E. D., “The role of proton mobility in determining the energy-resolved vibrational activation/dissociation channels of N-glycopeptide ions”, Analytica Chimica Acta 896 (2015) 85-92
  • Rathore, D., Aboufazeli, F., Huang, Y., Kolli, V., Fernando, G. S., Dodds, E. D., “Ion Dissociation Methods in Proteomics”, Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry, Online: 10 Sep 2015, DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a9310
  • Wong V.N., Fernando, G., Wagner, A.R., Zhang, J., Kinsel, G.R., Zauscher, S., Dyer, D.J. “Separation of Peptides with Polyionic Nanosponges for MALDI-MS Analysis” Langmuir, 2009, 25 (3), 1459–1465.
  • Li, M., Fernando, G., Van Waasbergen, L.G., Cheng, X., Ratner, B.D., Kinsel, G.R. “Thermoresponsive MALDI probe surfaces as a tool for protein on-probe fractionation” Analytical chemistry, 2007, 79, 6840-6844.

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