Dr. Ajith Rajapaksha

Senior Lecturer



Dr. Ajith Rajapaksha is a multidisciplinary scientist, an educator, and a researcher in education. Having had a diversified academic training, Dr. Rajapaksha is interested in multidisciplinary problem-solving. As an experimental biophysicist, Dr. Rajapaksha is interested in studying the structural transformations of macromolecular complexes under intracellular crowding. Dr. Rajapaksha is skilled in using small-angle scattering (x-ray and neutron) to obtain structural information from macromolecular complexes and using the scattering data to model their structures. Dr. Rajapaksha is also interested in in-silico studies of macromolecular systems. He is skilled in the in-silico modeling of macromolecular systems using the structural information from NMR and X-ray crystallography to perform molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. As an educator, Dr. Rajapaksha takes a keen interest in curriculum theory. He is actively engaged in pedagogical investigations of science and mathematics teaching and learning. Through his instructional activities, Dr. Rajapaksha investigates the epistemological structure of the discipline content knowledge and searches for an effective epistemological sequence of physics and mathematics concepts that leads to enhanced content learning and transdisciplinary skills. 


  • Ph.D. (Physics/Biophysics), 2015, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA
  • M.S. (Education/Curriculum and Instruction), 2015, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • M.S. (Physics) 2009, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, USA
  • B.Sc. (Specialized in Physics) 2003, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka 

Research and Publications

  1. (Submitted) Benefits of Competency Based Learning: College Physics and Beyond,Physical Review Physics Education Research, (YU10051)
  2. (Journal Article) Competency Based Teaching of College Physics: The philosophy and practice,  Physical Review Physics Education Research, Vol 13, No. 2, (2017)
  3. (Journal Article) Size Dependent Diffusion in Porcine Corneal Stroma,  Molecular and Cellular Biomechanics Journal, Vol 12, No. 3, p215-230, (2015)
  4. (Journal Article) Effects of Macromolecular Crowding on the Structure of a Protein Complex – a Small Angle Scattering Study of Superoxide Dismutase, Biophysical Journal, Vol 108, p967-974, (2015)


  1. Guest presentation in Twitter: On the competancy based teaching model, hosted by #iteachphyscis Feb. 2, 2018.
  2. (Conference talk) Competency Based Cross Disciplinary Curriculum for Non-Physics Majors, Concurrent Sessions- Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) STEM Conference 2017(Nov 3-5), Boston MA, USA
  3. (Invited Talk) Effective use of multimedia in the classroom, Department of physics, University of Cincinnati, OH, USA(Jul 13, 2015)
  4. (Conference Talk) Effects of Macromolecular Crowding on the Structure of a Protein Complex – Hitchhiker’s Guide to Protein Galaxy (Symposium). Purdue University(Jul 2015)

Awards / Certificates

  1. Purdue University’s Nominee for Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) – Excellence in Teaching 2015 Award, Jan 2015
  2. CETA Teaching Award, Department of Physics, Purdue University, March 2011
  3. Advanced Graduate Teaching Certificate (AGTC), Center for Instructional Excellence (CIE) Purdue University, March 2011
  4. Summer Research Grant Award, Department of Physics, Purdue University, 2011
  5. Graduate Teaching Certificate (GTC), Center for Instructional Excellence (CIE), Purdue University– March 2010
  6. Manuel Swartz Award: Outstanding Graduate Performance, Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of  Louisville– May 2009

Professional Development

Nov 3-5 2016

Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) STEM Conference 2017, Boston, MA USA

Jul 16-21 2016             

American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) – Summer MeetingSacramento CA, USA

Oct 22-26 2012             

Computational Biophysics Workshop Beckham Institute, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL, USA

Jun 11-25 2011             

National School of Neutron and X-ray Scattering 2011- DoE, USA Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory, USA