Anusha Seneviratne

Anusha Seneviratne


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Personal profile

Personal profile

I am an Immunologist specialising in Vascular Disease with an interest in environmental modulators of inflammation. My research has focused on macrophage activity in atherosclerotic vascular disease and I have shown the protective role of plant-derived drug compounds such as Metformin. I have published several high-impact papers in leading cardiovascular journals such as Circulation, and presented my research at many international cardiovascular and immunology conferences. I contributed to Non-Communicable Diseases report for the World Health Organization and the São Paulo Declaration on Planetary Health. I also have aided the development of Cell and Gene Therapies in Industry.


I lead the 'Introduction to Human Science' module as part of the BSc in Health Studies. I also teach on the MSc and MA in Global Health in the Department of Health Studies.

Research interests

I am studying the cellular and molecular mechanisms behind how environmental exposures modulate inflammation in the body such as air pollution, infectious diseases and medicinal plants. My current focus is on how ultrafine air particulates from diesel exhausts exacerbate cardiovascular inflammation in the context of Atherosclerosis.

I am also using pedagogical approaches to improve planetary health education for students in the Global South, focusing on Sri Lanka and Brazil.

Other work

I founded Girawa in 2021 producing a Planetary Health education programme for secondary school students in Sri Lanka, Brazil and beyond. Girawa is an organizational member of the Planetary Health Alliance.

Educational background

I hold a BSc in Biomedical Sciences and an MRes in Biomedical Sciences, specisalising in Cardiovascular Science from Imperial College London.

My PhD which was based at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology and funded by the British Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence, uncovered a novel molecular mechanism by which macrophages perform efferocytosis in atherosclerosis, and how this is impaired by the transcription factor IRF5 driving necrotic core formation.

My post-doctoral research at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, also funded by the British Heart Foundation, demonstrated the protective effect of the anti-diabetic French Lilac plant-derived drug Metformin and Heme on macrophage activity in atherosclerotic disease via activation of the AMPK-ATF1 signalling pathway. I also developed novel in vivo models to study the role of AMPK-ATF1 signalling and CREB in the resolution of acute inflammation and subdural haematomas.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Shear Stress and Interferon Regulatory Factor 5 Modulate Myeloid Cell Behaviour in Atherosclerosis, Imperial College London

Award Date: 1 Apr 2014

Biomedical Research, MRes (Distinction), Cardiovascular Science, Imperial College London

Award Date: 30 Sept 2010

Biomedical Sciences, BSc (Hons), Imperial College London

Award Date: 31 Jul 2009


  • Cell biology
  • Pre-clinical medicine
  • Immunology
  • Molecular genetics
  • Anatomy, physiology & pathology
  • Environmental health
  • Toxicology

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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