Dr Kushan Tennakoon


Associate Professor, Faculty of Science and Director, Institute for Biodiversity and Environmental Research


Assoc Prof. Kushan specializes in plant functional & developmental biology, physiology and biology of native flora. He obtained BSc First Class (Hons.) degree from University of Peradeniya in 1992. In 1997, he completed his PhD at University of Western Australia in South West Australian native flora.
He has received numerous professional awards during his academic career. These include the University of Peradeniya Scholarship awarded for achieving best results in Bachelor of Science Hons. Degree (1992), and Overseas Postgraduate Research Scholarship (OPRS) from the University of Western Australia (1993) for his doctoral studies. In 2005, he was awarded the J. William Fulbright Senior Fellowship, USA to pursue advanced research in the areas of plant developmental biology and ecophysiology. Assoc Prof. Kushan was a recipient of the Third World Academy of Science (TWAS) Young Scientist Award for Biology. This is awarded to recognize and support outstanding achievements made by mid-career Biologists from developing countries whose research work has significantly contributed to the advancement of sciences. In 2006 he received a Fulbright Occasional Lecturer award to deliver a lecture at the University of Mississippi, National Center for Natural Products Research, USA. He was a recipient of Sri Lanka Presidential Awards for Scientific Research for three consecutive years. Assoc. Prof. Kushan has served as an adjunct associate professor at the Old Dominion University, Virgina, USA. He was the program leader of the Environmental and Life Sciences Program of Faculty of Science in 2010. Currently he is serving as the Director, Institute for Biodiversity & Environmental Research (IBER) of UBD.


Invasive & Parasitic Plants, Climate Change Biology, Bio Security, Functional & Developmental Plant Biology; Plant Physiology, Agronomy Land Restoration and Rehabilitation; Phytochemistry
For details please visit my personal web page:


Google Scholar Citations


Google Scholar h-index


Google Scholar i10-index


1 Jay F. Bolin, Tennakoon Kushan U, Mohamed Bin Abdul Majid, Duncan D. Cameron.2016. Isotopic evidence of partial mycoheterotrophy in Burmannia coelestis (Burmanniaceae). Plant Species Biology (Wiley- Blackwell). In press. Early view online version is available: DOI: 10.1111/1442-1984.12116

2. Q V Le, Tennakoon Kushan U, F Metali, L BL Lim & J F Bolin.2016
Ecophysiological Responses Of Mistletoe Dendrophthoe curvata (Blume) Miquel (Loranthaceae) To Varying Environmental Parameters Depend On Host Associations – Journal of Tropical Forest Science 28 (1):59-67 (Early view online version is available)

3. A. Suhaili, R Sukri & Tennakoon Kushan U. 2016. comparison of seedling emergence and soil seed bank composition of an Acacia plantation and AN adjacent tropical Heath forest in Brunei Darussalam. Biotropia. In press.

4.YC Lim, R Rajabalaya, H F Lee, Tennakoon Kushan U , QV Le , A Idris,I N Zulkipli, N Keasberry , SR David (2016). REVIEW: Parasitic Mistletoes of Genera Scurrula and Viscum: From Bench to Bedside. Molecules (online version available) 21, 1048: 1-34 doi:10.3390/molecules21081048

5. Q V Le, Tennakoon Kushan U, Metali F, Lim LBL, Bolin JF. 2015. The Impacts of Cuscuta australis infection on photosynthesis of the host Mikania micrantha under drought conditions. Weed Biology & Management (Wiley)15: 138-146.


1. Tennakoon Kushan U, Chak WH, Lim LBL, Bolin J. 2014. Mineral nutrition of the hyperparasitic mistletoe Viscum articulatum Burm. f. (Viscaceae) in tropical Brunei Darussalam. Plant Species Biology (Wiley- Blackwell) 29: 101-107 .

2. M.S. Ashton, I.A.U.N. Gunatilleke C.V.S. Gunatilleke Kushan U. Tennakoon, P.S. Ashton. 2014. Use and cultivation of plants that yield products other than timber from South Asian tropical forests, and their potential in forest restoration- Review. Forest Ecology and Management: 329, 360-374. DOI:dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2014.02.030.

3.Tennakoon Kushan U, Chak WH, Bolin J. 2011. Nutritional and Isotopic Relationships of Selected Bornean Tropical Mistletoe- Host Associations in Brunei Darussalam. Functional Plant Biology 38(6): 505-513. doi: 10.1071/FP10211

4. Tennakoon Kushan U , Bolin JF, Musselman LJ. Maass, E. 2007. Structural Attributes of the Hypogeous Holoparasite Hydnora triceps Drège & Meyer (Hydnoraceae). American Journal of Botany 94:1439-1449. doi:10.3732/ajb.94.9.1439

5. Tennakoon Kushan U, Pate JS, Arthur D. 1997. Ecophysiological aspects of the woody root hemiparasite Santalum acuminatum (R.Br.) A. DC. and its common hosts in south Western Australia. Annals of Botany 80 (3), 245-256. doi: 10.1006/anbo.1997.0432

Tennakoon Kushan U, Pate JS. 1996. Heterotrophic gain of carbon from hosts by the xylem-tapping root hemiparasite Olax phyllanthi (Olacaceae). Oecologia 105:369-376

. Tennakoon Kushan U, Pate JS. 1996. Effects of parasitism by a mistletoe on the structure and functioning of branches of its host. Plant, Cell and Environment 19, 517-525.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-3040.1996.tb00385.x


Completed Grants

1. Establishment of High Value Santalum album Plantations with Community Participation in Sri Lanka. (for the period September 1999 – September 2002).
Funded by the World Bank and implemented through the Environment Action 1 Project of the Ministry of Forestry and Environment- Principal Investigator.

2. Performance of Selected Non Timber Forest Species in the Sinharaja World Heritage Site of Sri Lanka to Improve the Livelihood of Local Communities. (for the period October 2000 – October 2002). Funded by the NAGAO Natural Environment Foundation (Japan)- Principal Investigator.

3. Ecophysiological studies on the invasive behavior of holoparasitic Cuscuta spp. in Sri Lanka” (for the period August 1999- August 2002). Funded by the National Science Foundation, Sri Lanka – Collaborator. Amount

4. Development of Propagation Techniques for Medicinal Plants Santalum album, Coscinium fenestratum, Piper longum and Hemidesmus indicus. (for the period February 2000 – February 2002). Funded by the World Bank Sponsored Sri Lanka Conservation and Sustainable Use of Medicinal Plants Project – Collaborator.

5. Evaluation of Invasive Species as Potential Candidates for Metal Ion Uptake from Polluted Water – (for the period June 2000- June 2001). Funded by the Post Graduate Institute of Science, University of Peradeniya – Principal Co-investigator.

6. Development of propagation techniques for six medicinal plant species: Kaempferia galanga, Cyperus rotundus, Ipomea mauritiana, Aristolochia indica, Phyllanthus debilis and Asparagus racemosus of Sri Lanka. (for the period of February 2001-December 2002). Funded by the World Bank Sponsored Sri Lanka Conservation and Sustainable Use of Medicinal Plants Project – Principal Investigator.

7. Understanding the performance of selected forest species providing non-timber forest products– (for the period October 2000- September 2003). Funded by the National Science Foundation, Sri Lanka.- Collaborator.

8. Investigation of the agronomy of Santalum album plantations (for the period of October 2001 – July 2003). Funded by the World Bank Sponsored Sri Lanka Conservation and Sustainable Use of Medicinal Plants Project – Principal Investigator.

9. Restoration of Plant and Economic Diversity in Monoculture Pinus Plantations in Sri Lanka (for the period June 2002 – June 2006). Funded by the USDA through Sri Lanka – USA Cooperative Germplasm Development Programme – Collaborator. Amount – US$ 65,000.00

10. Development of Agronomic Practices for Cultivating the Medicinal Plants Phyllanthus debelis. (for the period March 2003-December 2003). Funded by the Post Graduate Institute of Science, University of Peradeniya – Principal Investigator.

11. Development of Human Resources Capacity for Teaching and Research on Restoration of Degraded Tropical Ecosystems (for the period July 2003 – July 2006). Funded by the European Union, Asia-Link Program – Collaborator. Amount – Euro 291,000.00

12. Buffer zone restoration and development in the Knuckles forest reserve, Sri Lanka (for the period May 2006 – April 2009). Funded by the Darwin Initiative Program, UK – Collaborator. Amount: Sterling Pounds 225,068.00

13. Collaborative Studies in Tropical Asian Dendrochronology: Addressing Challenges in Climatology and Forest Ecology in Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and India (for the period July 2007 – July 2010) Grant No: ARCP2007-17NMY. Funded by the Asia Pacific Network for Global Change Research http://www.apn-gcr.org/en/indexe.html.

14. A preliminary investigation on the structural and functional attributes of parasitic plants (mistletoes and dodders) in Brunei Darussalam: a step towards broadening horizons on the understanding of plant- plant interactions in Borneo. (2010 to 2014). Principal Investigator. Grant awarded by the Brunei Research Council (BRC).

Current Grants

15. Conservation and Bio-Prospecting of Brunei’s Natural Resources for National Development. “Brunei’s Traditional Pharmacopoeia: A Drug Discovery Programme for National Development”Sub theme: Ex-situ conservation, biological and phytochemical studies of the flora of Brunei Darussalam. Collaborator and Interim PI from year 2016/2017. Large Program Grant awarded by the Brunei Research Council, Brunei Darussalam (BRC Grant no. 6)

16. Ecological consequences of Acacia invasion into Brunei Darussalam and the strategies that could be adopted to minimize further damage to natural and agricultural habitats in the Sultanate. Universiti Brunei Research Grant (URG). Collaborator.

17. A multifaceted investigation of the spread of exotic Acacia species into native habitats within Brunei Darussalam: understanding the causes of, and management strategies for, these invasive species. Collaborator . Grant awarded by the Brunei Research Council (BRC). Brunei Darussalam (BRC Grant no. 11).


Patent - Methods of obtaining sensitizing dyes of the flower extracts of aerial hemiparasitic plants grown in Brunei Darussalam and methods of generating current using these dyes as sensitizers in Dye Sensitized Solar Cells (DSSCs). Brunei Patent Granted in April 2014. This was the first patent granted for Universiti Brunei Darussalam- Co inventor.

I have collaborated with fertilizer manufacturing companies for the production of novel fertilizer / growth supplements for high value cash crops in both field and plant house conditions


I have worked as a consultant in the following projects:

Establishment of High Value Sandalwood in Degraded Habitats and Enrichment Programs in Mature Rubber Plantations

Mahogany and Agarwood Plantation Establishment Programs

Establishment of Medicinal Plant Cultivations (Agronomist) for Pharmaceutical Product development

Numerous Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA's) involved with construction of housing schemes, bridges, industry hubs and recreational facilities

Industry, Institute, or Organisation Collaboration

Working with Private Crop / High Value crop Plantation Companies, Chemical and Organic fertilizer companies, Medicinal Plants Growers, Herbal Drug Manufacturers


Environmental Impact Assessments, Timber Plantation, High Value Crop Management (nurseries, drip irrigation and nutrition management)