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Opened in 1986, the Microbiology Department conducts research on: melioidosis, scrub typhus and other rickettsial infections; antimicrobial resistance; leptospirosis; the epidemiology of infectious diseases; sepsis and severe sepsis; the evaluation of diagnostic tests; and the immunology and cell biology of infectious diseases.


Microbiology, led by Direk Limmathurotsakul, conducts research into clinical and laboratory aspects of bacterial and viral illnesses in Thailand, Cambodia and Sri Lanka, and supports the embedded microbiologists in SMRU and the Laos Collaboration.

Significant achievements

Opened in 1986, the Microbiology Department’s first focus of research, melioidosis in Ubon Ratchathani, northeast Thailand, led to a landmark randomized controlled trial on the treatment of melioidosis published in 1989, that reduced the mortality of the disease in Thailand by half.

Future vision

The MORU Microbiology aims to be a leader for prospective AMR surveillance system for low and middle-income countries, and a global leader for melioidosis and rickettsioses. We will engage policy makers, healthcare providers and public, and influence in policy changes for better surveillance, diagnosis, treatment and prevention for those diseases.

Studies & study sites

MORU Microbiology has teams at three study sites in Thailand: Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani, and Chiangrai Clinical Research Unit (CCRU)