September 2013

Front row (from left to right):Brittney Allen,Angelica Camilo, Dr. Arunika Gunawardena and her daugther Anisha, Randa Ataya

Back row (from left to right): Malik Ali, Gaolathe Rantong, Trevor Warner, James Sayre, Paul Parks, Devin MacDonald, Adrian Dauphinee


July 2013


From left to right: Paul Parks, Gaolathe Rantong, Trevor Warner, Adrian Dauphinee,

Dr.Arunika Gunawardena, Angelica Camilo, Devin MacDonald, Randa Ataya



Devin's research

Devin graduated with a Bachelor of Science, Major in Biology from Dalhousie in May 2011. He began volunteering in the Gunawardena lab in the fall of 2010 while taking Arunika's 4th year plant cell course. He enjoyed working with and learning about PCD in the lace plant and continued his volunteer tissue culturing and lab preparatory work through the summer. In September after volunteering for a year he began working in the lab as a part time research assistant investigating the effect of continuous light on lace plant perforation formation. He has hopes to one day attend dental school.


Christina Lord

Christina's research

Christina was born and raised in Tantallon Nova Scotia, a rural area just 20 minutes outside the city Halifax. Her enthusiasm for plants led her to pursue many outdoor activities during her childhood and high school career and inevitably led to her enrolling in the Biology department at Dalhousie University in the fall of 2003. Following the completion of her honours program in May 2008 in the Gunawardena programmed cell death (PCD) lab Christina was awarded the Sarah Lawson Botanical Research Scholarship and continued her work into the summer months. Christinas’ passion for the research being completed on the novel model organism, the lace plant, led her to begin her MSc work in the fall of 2008; she is now a PhD student in the lab and a holder of an NSERC PGS-D. Christina’s work mainly involves determining the role of the mitochondria during both regulated and induced PCD within the lace plant, with a second large focus on elucidating the order of all cellular/organelle events during this cell death process. Christina is also highly active within her discipline and has been the student representative for the Canadian Botanical Association for the past two years. This year Christina was also awarded The Taylor A. Steeves Award for best paper in plant development from the same society, for her publication in The Americas Journal of Plant Science and Biotechnology in 2010. Outside of research Christinas’ true passion is teaching, she is currently completing her diploma in teaching in learning in higher education from Dalhousie, and this year was presented the TA of the year award for her exemplary teaching abilities.



Thenmoly Chelliah

Moly's research

Past Lab Members


My name is Thenmoly Chelliah and I’m from Malaysia. I’m a third year Biology Major student at Dalhousie University. I really enjoyed Dr.Gunawardena’s Plant Diversity class last semester and her class made me realise that my interest is actually leaning towards plant biology. I’m volunteering in the lab and also taking Special Topics course under Dr.Gunawardena in this summer. My Special Topics project will mainly focus on the microorganisms that infect the lab lace plant, Aponogeton madagascariensis. I’m also planning to start my Honours Project under the supervision of Dr.Gunawardena starting this September. I’m really excited to be a part of this PCD lab.


Lydia Fraguhton

Lydia's research


Lydia is a fourth year student at Dalhousie University doing her undergraduate honours degree in Biology. Lydia began volunteering in the Gunawardena lab in the fall of 2011 while taking Arunika’s fourth year plant cell course. After volunteering in the Gunawardena lab, Lydia decided to take on an honours project, which she began in the summer of 2012. She enjoys working with and learning about PCD in the lace plant and is continuing to work on her tissue culture moving on to the transformation of the lace plant for her honours project. Lydia is the president of the Dalhousie Biology Society and has been involved in DABS for the past 3 years. Her future plans involve research and pursuing graduate school to study developmental biology and botany.



Lace Plant

PCD Research






Lab Members








Lab volunteers


Experiential Learning

Lab Events & Photos

Art work

Volunteer work



Past Lab Members























Inspirational talks