Sameera Ranmal Gunatilake was born in Colombo. He was raised in Kandy and completed his primary and secondary education at Dharmaraja College Kandy. Sameera joined the Graduateship Program in Chemistry offered by the Institute of Chemistry Ceylon and graduated with first-class honors in 2007. As an undergraduate, he received several notable awards and scholarships, including the Institute of Chemistry Ceylon Entrance Scholarship, and the prize for Experimental Chemistry.
He served as a graduate teaching assistant at the Institute before obtaining a funded placement at the Mississippi State University, USA, for his doctoral studies in 2009. His PhD work was focused on the development of improved analytical methods to determine steroidal estrogens in environmental aqueous matrices and involved preparative chemical separation and intense chromatography. Sameera obtained his PhD in analytical chemistry in 2014 under the supervision of Professor Todd E Mlsna. While reading for his PhD, he served as a graduate teaching assistant as well as a graduate research assistant. He was the proud recipient of the the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award– Upper division in the years 2013 and 2014.
Sameera returned to the Institute of Chemistry Ceylon immediately after completing his graduate studies at the Mississippi State University, where he started his academic career as a full time academic in 2015. He was promoted to probationary senior lecturer (grade II) in 2016, confirmed senior lecturer (grade II) in 2018 and senior lecturer (grade I) in 2021.
While Analytical and Environmental chemistry were his main teaching areas, he enjoyed teaching Quantum Mechanics at freshman and sophomore classes. Chemical Education was also one of his specialties. He served as a visiting lecturer at South Eastern University of Sri Lanka. He is a certified teacher of higher education at Staff and Educational Development Association (SEDA), United Kingdom.
Sameera and his group have received several recognitions for their research contributions including, the Ramakrishna Memorial Award 2020 by the Institute of Chemistry Ceylon, and Presidential Award for Scientific Publications, Sri Lanka in 2017.
In addition to his teaching and research, he is involved in several administrative roles, both inside and outside of the Institute. He served as a council member of the Institute of Chemistry for four years and was the Honorary Editor, Honorary Assistant Treasurer and Secretary of the Admissions and Ethical Practices Committee. He also served as a council member of the Sri Lanka academy of young scientists (SLAYS) and is currently, the president elect of SLAYS. Also, he is a past president of the Alumni Association of the College of Chemical Sciences and is a founding member of the CCS Alumni Association’s North America Chapter.
Sameera and his wife live in Colombo with their son. He enjoys watching cricket and (American) football. He is also interested in hiking and cooking.