Dr Damith Katudampe Vithanage

Dr Damith Katudampe Vithanage


I joined the University of Leeds in December 2021 as a Research Fellow in the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering. Prior to my appointment at the University of Leeds, I held the position of Senior Lecturer at the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka for five years.

In 2009, I graduated in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka. Following that, I pursued my Master of Engineering (MEng) in Advanced Science and Engineering at Ritsumeikan University, Japan, completing it in 2013. In 2016, I obtained my Doctor of Engineering (DEng) from the same university, with my thesis titled "Fabrication and analysis of magnet-based soft tactile sensors and their application to robotic manipulation and texture classification," under the supervision of Prof. Shinichi Hirai. This research was funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS).

Throughout my career as an early career researcher and academic, I have been honoured with several awards. Notably, I received the Best Paper Award at the Multidisciplinary Engineering Research Conference (MERCon) in 2021 and 2018. In 2018, I was presented with the President's Merit Award for Scientific Publication by the National Research Council, Sri Lanka. Additionally, I received the Annual Research Outstanding Award from 2017 to 2020 from the Senate Research Council, University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka. As a Principal Investigator at the University of Moratuwa, I have successfully secured more than £70,000 (LKR 25 million) worth of national and international grants.

During my time at the University of Moratuwa, I supervised one PhD student, five MSc research students, and 12 undergraduate capstone projects. At the University of Leeds, I have co-supervised one MSc student and am currently co-supervising one PhD student and one visiting research student alongside Prof. Pietro Valdastri.

Presently, my research primarily focuses on the design and development of soft magnetic continuum robots, as well as the magnetic manipulation of such robots for application in minimally invasive surgical procedures. I am also leading the research on designing and controlling mechanisms for novel clinically relevant soft continuum robots as part of the EPSRC-funded project titled "New minimally invasive technologies for the treatment of pancreatic cancer."

Research interests

My current research interests revolve around Medical Robotics, Soft Robotics, and Magnetic Manipulation. Specifically, I focus on exploring novel actuation mechanisms for soft continuum robots, incorporating magnetic field manipulation, with the ultimate goal of enhancing minimally invasive surgery.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • D. Eng. in Robotics, Ritsumeikan University, Japan - 2016
  • M.Eng. in Advanced Science and Engineering, Ritsumeikan University, Japan - 2013
  • B.Sc. (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering, University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka - 2009

Professional memberships

  • Charted Member of Institution of Mechanical Engineers, UK (IMechE)
  • Senior Member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
  • Associate Member of Institute of Engineers, Sri Lanka (IESL)