LSU Chemistry Graduate Student Receives the 2020 LSU Alumni Association International Student Scholarship 


Thilini UkwaththageBATON ROUGE, August 31, 2020- Thilini Ukwaththage was recently named one of the four recipients of the 2020 LSU Alumni Association International Student Scholarship. The scholarship, established in 2015, recognizes outstanding international students that demonstrate high academic achievement, leadership, global engagement, and diversity.

“I am really honored to be the recipient of this precious award, which will greatly benefit my future at LSU as well as my career,” said Thilini. “This award is very important not only financially, but also emotionally as it has strengthened my self-confidence.”

Thilini is a fifth-year doctoral student in the Macnaughtan research group. Her research involves studying the 3D structure of proteins and protein:protein interactions during the developmental cycle of Chlamydia trachomatis, the most common sexually transmitted bacterial disease, to improve drug treatments. 

"I'm very proud of Thilini,” said Associate Professor Megan Macnaughtan. “She has worked hard and deserves this recognition."

Thilini is an active member of numerous student organizations at LSU, including the Chemistry Graduate Student Council (CGSC), National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE), and the Sri Lankan Student Association (SLSA).

She also enjoys staying involved in outreach activities across the LSU campus and surrounding community.  Thilini’s past involvement includes volunteering as a science exhibitor at Super Science Saturday (2016, 2018) and LSU MLK Day (2019), presenter at the LSU Chemistry International Student Orientation (2017, 2018), and as a judge for the LSU Undergraduate Research Conference (2018).

“Staying involved not only makes me feel good, but it helps bring a sense of community and an opportunity to give back to others,” Thilini said.

Thilini attended the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka for her undergraduate studies and graduated with a first-class honors degree in 2014.  Thilini plans on graduating with her Ph.D. in chemistry from LSU in May 2021.  Following graduation, she hopes to pursue a research career focusing on drug discovery.

Learn more about Thilini, her research, and career plans in her recent LSU Chemistry blog feature.

Gretchen Schneider
LSU Department of Chemistry