AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Dr. Asanga Ranasinghe is breaking the mold at Badger world.

“I’m really honored about this position,” said Dr. Ranasinghe, who serves as Associate Professor, Department of Physical and Biological Sciences at Amarillo College. “Because I’ve been working on stem research for a while since the time we initiated the stem club in 2018.”

He was recently named as the first-ever Distinguished Research Scientist at Amarillo College, and his research ranges from developing a new teeth whitener, to assisting law enforcement in testing for illegal substances like fentanyl, to finding ways to use cow manure.

“Another French-Canadian company actually reached out to us in terms of making a new hydrogen manufacturing and storage plant in Amarillo. So I have a side project on how to convert manure into biochar into hydrogen gas.”

Dr. Ranasinghe joined the faculty in 2017, and received the designation from the Amarillo College Foundation.

“We can facilitate their research because we have the state of the art equipment, cutting edge technology, amazing faculty,” he explained.

So how is he able to conduct all of this groundbreaking research?

“I felt like it would be nice to have a mass spectrometer because we don’t in the Panhandle area, this is a very sophisticated instrument, you can measure anything qualitatively as well as quantitatively up to nanograms 1,000,000,000th of a gram quantity. So, within six months, Dr. Lowery-Hart had approved the funds and then we got the mass spectrometer,” he said excitedly.

Another goal he wants to accomplish, keeping local talent local.

“I have found we have really intelligent students, but one of the issues we are having in the Panhandle is the brain drain. So when the students graduate, they tend to move into bigger cities in Texas or everywhere in the country,” he noted.

Changing research and the community, one student at a time.

For more information on Amarillo College, click here.