Memorial Orations

Dr PB Fernando
Dr Cyril Fernando

Memorial Orations and Lectures

Dr EV Peiris
Professor K Rajasuriya
Dr GR Handy
Dr Cyril Fernando

Born in Colombo on 30th April 1900, Dr Cyril Fernando was educated at St Benedict’s College and University College Hospital, London. He qualified with the Conjoint Diploma in 1925 and graduated MBBS the year after. He was elected to the Membership of the Royal College of Physicians the same year. He did so well in the MRCP examination that he was excused the final viva, a component dreaded by many.

Returning to Ceylon, he joined the Colonial Medical Service and became Medical Registrar to the General Hospital, Colombo. In 1929 he returned to London and took his MD and was awarded the Gold Medal as the best candidate of the year. On his return to Colombo he was appointed in succession, additional assistant Pathologist, Physicians to Out Patients and in 1934 Physician to the General Hospital Colombo which he served with unwavering devotion for nearly a quarter century.

Dr Fernando was a great clinician and a diagnostician who prided himself on not being a specialist and claimed to be a non-specialist consultant in General Medicine. In every sense a good doctor, he was held in high esteem by his colleagues and loved by his patients. He was an active member of the Ceylon Branch of the British Medical Association and its successor, the Ceylon Medical Association. He was successively CMA’s Honorary Secretary, Treasurer, Vice President and in 1948, the President.

He was twice honoured by the Sovereign for his service to Medicine in Ceylon. In 1949 he was appointed an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire and in 1955 he was made a companion of the most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George.


1971Some changes in the pattern of disease and in the practice of MedicineProf Bruce Perry
1972Occupational lung disease in CeylonDr CG Uragoda
1973Community MedicineProf Sir Donald Turnbridge
1974Experiences with viral hepatitisDr N Nagaratnam
1976Milk Intolerance & chronic diarrhoeaDr PT de Silva
1977EncephalitisDr L S Illis
1982Palsy due to contamination of gingerly oilDr Nimal Senanayake
1984Mitral stenosis in childhoodDr S J Stephen
1988Motor neuron disease in the youthDr Govry Devi
1990Major risk factors of coronary heart disease in Sri LankansDr Shanthi Mendis
1992Cytokines in the Pathogenesis of ShigellosisDr Harendra de Silva
1993Renal disease – the Sri Lankan and Global spectrumDr S. Ramachandran
1994Malnutrition related diabetes- Fact or FictionDr Upali Illangasekera
1995Cardiac applications of high frequency ultrasoundProf P A N Chandraratne
1996Developments in medical educationProf Norman Mackay
1997Clinical epidemiology of thyroid disease in Sri LankaProf Devaka Fernando
1998Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease: a question of channelsDr H Asita de Silva
1999Tuberculosis meningitisDr S M Katrak
2000Sarcoidosis –an enigma?Prof Roland Clark
2001Tropical medicine: increasing reference in the 21st centuryProf David Warrell
2002Bone mineral density and hip geometry in women referred for bone density testingDr Sarath Lekamwasam
2003Renal fibrosis – can we prevent it?Prof Gavin Becker
2004Pathogenesis and new therapeutic options for portal hypertensionProf S K Sarin
2005Guillain-Barre syndrome: a Sri Lankan profileDr Udaya Ranawaka
2006Alcohol as an exploding health hazardProf Ian Gilmore
2007High blood pressure in Sri Lanka: epidemiology & implications for healthProf Rifdy Mohideen
2008Salt and Health: Time for ActionProf Graham A MacGregor
2009Multifaceted manifestations of paediatrics endocrinologyDr Shamya de Silva
2010Haemolytic uraemic syndromeDr Paul Warwicker
2011The controlled clinical trial and its application to neglected healthcare problems in Sri LankaProf Asita de Silva
2012Dengue fever in adults : Evolution of the illness and the bedside challengesProf Ranjan Premaratna
2013The discovery of a novel snake neurotoxin, candoxin- implications for cholinergic signalling mechanisms in health and diseaseDr Selvanayagam Nirthanan
2014Atrial septal defect (ASD) device closure- the revolution continues…Dr Gamini Galappatthy
2015Not awardedN/A
2016Changing epidemiology of dengue in southern Sri LankaDr Champica Bodinayake
2017Dengue, bleeding and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugsDr Ananda Wijewickrama
2018Not awardedN/A
2019Not awardedN/A
2020Combating burden of CVD through innovative strategies to improve BP controlProf Asita de Silva
2021Not awardedN/A


Dengue viral infection: Untangling the host viral knot

Dr Nilanka Perera

Dr Cyril Fernando Memorial Oration - 1974
Professor PB Fernando

Professor Panagodage Bertram Fernando had his early education at St Benedict’s College, Colombo from where he won a government scholarship to the Ceylon Medical College in 1918. He qualified LMS (Ceylon) in 1924 and joined the government medical service and served in many parts of the island.

He proceeded to UK in 1930 for post graduate studies and worked at the University College Hospital Medical School. He obtained MBBS (London) in 1931 and MRCP (London) in 1932 and also qualified DTM&H (Eng). On his return he served as the Visiting Physician, General Hospital Colombo for several years and also as the Visiting Paediatrician at the Lady Ridgway Hospital for Children. In 1936 he was appointed the first Professor of Medicine of the Ceylon Medical College. When the Medical College became part of the newly established University of Ceylon in 1942 he continued as the Professor of Medicine in the Faculty of Medicine. He was awarded an MD in 1951, and elected FRCP in 1952, the first Ceylonese to be awarded that distinction. He also served as acting Dean of the Faculty of medicine and acting Vice-Chancellor of the University of Colombo. He was Honorary Secretary and Treasurer of the Ceylon Branch of the BMA, and President Ceylon Medical Association in 1953. After a long and eventful service of 23 years as Professor, he retired in 1959 owing to a sudden illness and was appointed Emeritus Professor of Medicine of the University of Colombo. He was awarded the OBE for his services to Medical Education.

A brilliant clinician and a keen researcher, Professor Fernando has published research papers on childhood tuberculosis, ascariasis in children, nutritional disorders in childhood, rheumatic heart disease, liver diseases and coronary atherosclerosis and ischaemic heart disease in Ceylon.


1974Rh FactorSir Cyril Clarke
1975Sick sinus syndromeDr Upul Wijeyawardena
1978Non rheumatic mitral valve diseaseDr J G Soloman
1980Diabetic nerveProf K N Seneviratne
1983Cancer of the lungs in Sri LankaDr S J Stephen
1984The elderly patient – Epidemiological & clinical perspectiveDr S Ramachandran
1987Neurological manifestations of AIDSDr LS Illis
1989Advances in the treatment of malariaProf David Warrell
1992Cerebellar involvement in falciparum malariaDr H Janaka de Silva
1994Pathogenesis in malariaProf Kamani Mendis
1995PTCA in IHD – The Singapore Heart Centre ExperienceDr Arthur Tan
1996The diabetic footDr Devaka Fernando
1997The global epidemic of diabetesProf George Alberti
1998Morphologic assessment of thyroid disease by cytology and pattern of thyroid enlargement in Sri LankaProf Priyanthi Kumarasinghe
1999Advances in the prevention of a strokeProf Martin M Brown
2000Balloon mitral valvuloplasty- a new approach in the management of a mitral stenosisDr Vajira Senaratne
2001Medical education in the 21st centuryProf Richard Larkins
2002In the eye of the beholderProf Christopher Kennard
2003SARS and other emerging infectionsProf Malik Peiris
2004The pathogenesis and treatment of severe and complicated malariaProf Nicholas J White
2005Transition in endocrine care between adolescence and adult lifeProf John Monson
2006Primary prevention of type 2 diabetes – the Indian experienceDr A Ramachandran
2007The bridge between diabetes, insulin and cardiologyProf Paresh Dandona
2008Addressing global challenges for prevention & control of non-communicable diseasesDr Santhi Mendis
2009Strategies to resolve the management dilemmas in dengueDr Kolitha Sellahewa
2010Rickettsial infections in Sri Lanka: Yesterday, Today, and TomorrowProfessor Ranjan Premaratna
2011The QT Interval: from small print to headline newsDr Neil Dewhurst
2012Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease: time for a new modelProf APS Hungin
2013Leptospirosis in Sri Lanka 2003-2012Dr S B Agampodi
2014Mediators of vascular leak in dengue infectionsDr Neelika Malavige
2015Not awardedN/A
2016Not awardedN/A
2017The challenge of treating central nervous system infectionsProf Udaya Ranawaka
2018Living with HIV: The Sri Lankan experienceDr Ananda Wijewickrama
2019Not awardedN/A
2020Antimalarial drug discovery: searching for our rootsProf Niroshini Nirmalan
2021From NAFLD to MAFLD: Characterisitc fatty liver disease in Sri LankaProf Madunil Niriella


Not awarded


Dr Ernest Victor Peiris

Dr EV Peiris was born on 16th January 1926 and was educated at Royal College Colombo. He graduated from the University of Ceylon with First Class Honours in 1950. He and his wife Philine, travelled to Britain and obtained the MRCP (Edin) simultaneously in 1957. Returning to Ceylon, he obtained his MD in 1958. After another period in Britain during which he became a Member of the London College, Dr Peiris took up a post as Consultant Physician to Colombo North General Hospital, Ragama. In 1960 he was appointed Consultant Physician, general Hospital Colombo, where he remained until his retirement from state service in 1972. He was elected fellow of the Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh in 1972 and of London in 1975. A founder member and an active council member of the Ceylon College of Physicians, he was elected a Fellow of CCP in 1979. He has numerous publications to his credit. Dr Peiris continued as a popular practitioner right until his death on 23rd December 1991 while on holiday in Australia.


1994Inaugural OrationDr S H P Nanayakkara
1994Clinical management of severe falciparum MalariaProf David Warrell
1995Fibrocalculous pancreatic diabetesDr V Mohan
1996Sleep disordersD. K Puvanendran
1997New technologies in strokeDr Martin M Brown
1998Inherited disorders of haemoglobin as a global health patternDr David Weatherall
1999Iodine excretion, goiter & thyroid auto immunity in Sri Lanka - the current status & lessons for the futureDr Kuvera Premawardhena
2000An Asian experience in viral hepatitisDr Richard Guan
2001Inhaled steroids in childhood wheezing; efficacious and cost effective, but is it forever?Dr B J C Perera
2002Comprehensive assessment & risk stratification of coronary artery disease: can it be achieved non- invasively?Dr M U Sivananthan
2003Alzheimer’s disease in Sri LankaDr Asita de Silva
2004Not awardedN/A
2005Intra-venous immunoglobulin as a therapeutic tool: from antibody replacement to immunomodulationDr Siraj Misbah
2006Redefining the role of metabolic syndrome among Sri LankaDr T P Weeraratne
2007Cure for common forms of Supra Ventricular Tachycardia (SVT): is it feasible in Sri Lanka?Dr Asunga Dunuwille
2008Innovations in interventional cardiology – 30 year odysseyProf Omar Farouque
2009Evidence based guidelines for preparation before upper gastrointestinal endoscopyDr Arjuna De Silva
2010Research, adventures and discoveries in Tropical MedicineProf David Warrell
2011Pathogenicity of autoantibodies in neurological disordersDr Thashi Chang
2012The story of the Sri Lankan twin register – Colombo Twin and Singleton Survey (COTASS)”Prof Sisira Siribaddana
2013Genetics of thromboembolic disease in Sri LankaProf Vajira Dissanayake
2014Leptospirosis: Challenges in diagnosis, and predictors of severity”Prof Senaka Rajapakse
2015Genetics of diabetes in Sri Lankans and South AsiansDr Prasad Katulanda
2016Not awardedN/A
2017Scrub typhus in Sri Lanka - Beyond the stethoscopeProf Ranjan Premaratna
2018Not awardedN/A
2019Back to basics with receptors and ligands: molecules, mechanisms and medicineProf Selvanayagam N Nirthanan
2020Not awardedN/A
2021Not awardedN/A


The patterns and predictors of knee osteoarthritis pain flares

Dr Inoshi Atukorala

Dr G R Handy

Dr George Rasanayagam Handy had his primary education at St John’s College, Jaffna. He qualified as a Licentiate in Medicine and Surgery in 1927 from the Ceylon Medical College and commenced his medical career as a Lecturer/Demonstrator in Physiology at the Ceylon Medical College. He proceeded to UK for postgraduate studies and obtained the honours degree in the London MBBS. He was awarded the Gold Medal in the DTM & H (London). In 1942 he was appointed JMO in Colombo and soon became an authority in Forensic Medicine and Pathology. He proceeded again to UK and obtained the MD (Lond) and MRCP (Lond). He also specialised in Cardiology. On his return to Ceylon he was appointed Resident Physician, General Hospital Colombo where he was in charge of the blood transfusion services. He was subsequently appointed Visiting Physician, General Hospital, Colombo where he became a much  sought after clinician with  a bent for Cardiology. He had a passion for bedside teaching and his bedside manner won him many affectionate patients from all over the country. In the 1950s he was conferred the OBE and was President of the Ceylon Medical Association in 1963. He became the President of the Ceylon Academy of Postgraduate Medicine. He pioneered Cardiology in Sri Lanka and was the founder President of the Sri Lanka Heart Association in 1968. In 1970 he was elected Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Fellow of the American College of Cardiologists.

1996Inaugural OrationDr PR Anthonis
1998Management of Heart FailureDr Upul Wijayawardane
1999The burden of coronary artery disease: perspectives in managementDr PN Thenabadu
2000Valve replacement – what have we learnt?Dr PA Gooneratne
2001Cardiac electrophysiology – prospects for the millenniumDr Mohan Nair
29.10.2002 Birth CentenaryCoronary artery disease in the 21st CenturyDr Mathew Samuel Kalarickal
2003Prevention of cardiac events in coronary diseaseProf Henry Purcell
Professor K Rajasuriya

Born on 2nd December 1915, Professor Kumaradasa Rajasuriya had his primary education at Ananda College Colombo and later at Nalanda Vidyalaya, Colombo. He joined the Colombo Medical College in 1934. Graduating in 1939, he started his career as a medical officer in 1943 in Murunkan. This was followed by Gampola, Children’s Hospital Colombo, Health Unit, Kalutara and the Prison Hospital. He proceeded to UK in 1951 and obtained the MRCP (London) in 1952 and thereafter the Diploma in Child Health.

On his return he served with distinction as a physician starting in Jaffna and later in Kurunegala and Colombo. In 1958 he became co-Professor in Medicine and later the Professor of Medicine of the Colombo Medical School. In 1970 he took over as the Director of Health Services in the country. He was elected the second President of the Ceylon College of Physicians in 1970/71.

His research interests were wide and he contributed to many international journals. In 1970 he delivered the Sir Marcus Fernando Oration. He was for some time the Editor of the Ceylon Medical Journal. His forte was in the Conducting of MD examinations of the University of Colombo which was not second to the MRCP. His sudden death in 1975 while conducting the MD examination was shock to everyone he associated with.


2002The Rajasuriya legacy to Medicine in the 21st century ”Prof Justin LaBrooy
2003The Brain-Mind Controversy and the Concept of Rebirth: a Neuroscientist’s ViewpointProf Nimal Senanayake
2004Chronic auto immune thyroiditis - Why the fascination?Dr H N Rajaratnam
2005Not awardedN/A
2006Not awardedN/A
2007Syndromic approach to snake identification - a clinico– epidemiological study of victims of snake bitesDr Ariaranee Gnanathasan
2008Not awardedN/A
2009Not awardedN/A
2010Not awardedN/A
2011Physicians: Pioneers and Pivots of Toxicology in Sri LankaDr Indika Gawarammana
2012Dengue and the Liver: the deadly tangoProf Arjuna de Silva
2013From pesticide to medicinal drugs: suicide and deliberate self harm in Sri LankaProf Varuni de Silva
2014The role of single nucleotide polymorphisms in genetic predisposition, disease diagnosis, and therapy – a decade of work in the Sri Lankan populationProf Vajira Dissanayake
2015Novel risk factors for coronary artery disease - role of testosterone and high sensitive CRP in Sri Lankan malesDr C M Wickramatilake
2016Hump nosed pit viper bite: unraveling an enigmaProf Kolitha Sellahewa
2017Not awardedN/A
2018Non-communicable diseases: A twenty-first century epidemicProf Udaya Ralapanawa
2019Not awardedN/A
2020Not awardedN/A
2021Not awardedN/A


Hymenoptera (wasps, bees and ants) envenomation; A neglected tropical disorder in Sri Lanka

Dr. E.W. Rohotha Amara Witharana

Ceylon College of Physicians Oration


2017Inaugural OrationDr Lakshman Ranasinghe
2018Medicine and the structure of knowledge: Contextualising Medical knowledge to meet local health needsProf Anand Zachariah
2019Chronic Kidney Disease of uknown aetiology in Sri Lanka; unravelling the mysteryProf Kamani Wanigasuriya
2020Immunological and molecular - epidemiological aspects of COVID-19 in Sri LankaProf Neelika Malavige
2021Exploring the complexity of RNA virus infections using viral genomicsDr Chaturaka Rodrigo


A glimpse of fever, bites and stinge from bed to bench: Journey through decades

Prof SAM Kularatne