At the inception in 1900, the Medical Research Institute (MRI) was known as the ‘De Soyza Bacteriological Institute’. The clinical bacteriology laboratory has been the pioneering unit (which was called as the ‘main lab’) of the MRI. It is continuing its exemplary services to the nation for over 114 years.
Sir Aldo Castellani, an Italian pathologist and a microbiologist was the first director of the De Soyza Bacteriological Institute who introduced various laboratory tests in bacteriology for the first time in Sri Lanka. The pioneering bacteriological tests introduced by him included tests for the diagnosis of enteric fever and tuberculosis.
Over the years bacteriology has grown in to a gigantic discipline that has branched out adding many important subdivisions: clinical microbiology, leptospirsis, food and water microbiology, anaerobic bacteriology, enteric pathogens, quality control and molecular bacteriology
In 1905, Sir Aldo Castellani discovered the causative organism in Yaws. Since then many bacteria reported for the first time and new strains of leptospira were originated by eminent microbiologists such as Dr. E. Schmid, Dr. Nitiyanandan, Dr. T. Velaudapillai, Dr. Palasuntheram, Dr. R.S.B. Wickramasinghe and Dr. Maya Atapattu.
The consultants served in this department are as follows:
Sir Aldo Castellani, Dr. E. Schmid, Dr. Nitiyanandan, Dr. T. Velaudapillai, Dr. Palasuntheram, Dr. R.S.B. Wickramasinghe, Dr. Maya Atapattu, Dr. Philomina Chandrasiri, Dr. Praneetha Somaratne, Dr. K. Karunaratne and Dr. Kavan Cooray.
The present Consultants are:
Dr. Lilani Karunanayake 2010
Dr. Sujatha Pathirage 2012
Publications of Medical Research Institute
Personal communication – Mr. L. Suraweera, Sup. MLT