Dr Dissanayake obtained a B.Sc degree at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, and then completed Master’s and PhD at Kobe and Osaka University, Japan working on Protein kinases. In 2006 he joined MRC Protein Phosphorylation unit as a postdoctoral scientist in College of Life Sciences at University of Dundee, Scotland.
During his Postdococtoral Research at Carol MacKintosh group, Dr Dissanayake identified growth factor-regulated 14-3-3 binding proteins with roles in cancer processes. He reported on the identification of human capicúa (CIC) as a transcriptional repressor of the PEA3 Ets transcription factors ETV1, ETV4 and ETV5, also showing that repression is relieved by multisite controls of capicúa by Erk, p90RSK and 14-3-3 proteins. For this work, Dr Dissanayake was awarded The Howard Elder Prize for cancer research in 2011.
Currently, Dr Dissanayake has a Postdoctoral Research position in Dr Paul Newey’s lab in the school of Medicine, University of Dundee.
Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia type I (MEN1) is an autosomal dominant disorder characterized by the development of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (PanNETs), pituitary and parathyroid tumours. Individuals with MEN1 typically harbor heterozygous germline MEN1 mutations, whilst MEN1-associated tumours demonstrate bi-allelic inactivation of the MEN1 gene consistent with a tumour suppressor function for the encoded protein, Menin.
Currently, Dr Dissanayake is using iPSC and CRISPR/Cas9 technologies to identify potential Menin-dependent tumourigenic pathways for the evaluation of MEN1 gene function.
• Gerta Hoxhaj, Edward Caddye, Ayaz Najafov, Vanessa P. Houde, Kumara Dissanayake, Catherine Johnson, Rachel Toth, David G. Campbell, Alan R. Prescott and Carol MacKintosh. ZNRF2 is both a novel substrate of mTORC1 and mediator of its activation by amino acids. eLife. 2016:5; 1-18.
• Michele Tinti, Kumara Dissanayake, Silvia Synowsky, Luca Albergante, Carol MacKintosh. Identification of 2R-ohnologue gene families displaying the same mutation-load skew in multiple cancers. Open Biol 2014: 7; 4:140029.
• Gerta Hoxhaj, Kumara Dissanayake, Carol MacKintosh. Effect of IRS4 levels on PI 3-kinase signalling. PLoS One 2013: 10; 8(9).
• Kumara Dissanayake, Rachel Toth, Jamie Blakey, Olof Olsson, David G. Campbell, Alan Prescott and Carol MacKintosh. ERK/p90RSK/14-3-3 signalling has an impact on expression of PEA3 Ets transcription factors via the transcriptional repressor capicúa. Biochemical Journal 2011: 433:515-525.