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.
The Head of Microbiology is Assoc Prof Direk Limmathurotsakul, a Wellcome Trust Intermediate Fellow with expertise in melioidosis, sepsis, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and medical statistics. In Bangkok MORU Microbiology has a US Select Agent Program certified BSL3 laboratory, and BSL2, molecular and serology laboratories. In Thailand, we have clinical research lab facilities and Units in Ubon Ratchathani province (Sunpasitthiprasong Hospital), Udon Thani province (Udon Thani Hospital), Chiangrai province (Chiangrai Clinical Research Unit (CCRU) in Chiangrai Prachanukroh Hospital). The Microbiology Department works closely with the microbiology labs of SMRU, LOMWRU (Lao PDR) and COMRU (Cambodia), and of other Wellcome Africa Asia Programmes (particularly OUCRU in Vietnam), and collaborate with research organizations across Thailand and Southeast Asia
The department has 12 senior researchers with multiple areas of expertise, 28 middle-level or junior staff in Bangkok, 20 in Ubon Ratchathani, 3 in Udon Thani and 7 in Chiangrai. The current team includes:
- Direk Limmathurotsakul. Expertise in melioidosis, sepsis, AMR and medical statistics
- Elizabeth Batty. Expertise in bioinformatics and genomics
- Janjira Thaipadungpanit. Expertise in molecular microbiology, leptospirosis and melioidosis
- Jeanne Salje (Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellow). Expertise in cell biology and scrub typhus
- Narisara Chantratita. Expertise in immunology, host genetic and melioidosis
- Piengchan Songthayanon. Expertise in molecular microbiology and scrub typhus
- Stuart Blacksell. Expertise in serology, scrub typhus, and safety, including biosecurity and biocontainment.
- Susanna Dunachie. Expertise in cellular immunology, scrub typhus and melioidosis.
- Tri Wangrangsimakul. Research clinician leading studies of scrub typhus pathophysiology and treatment who heads the Chiangrai Clinical Research Unit
- Vanaporn Wuthiekanun. Expertise in basic microbiology, leptospirosis and melioidosis
- Wirongrong Chierakul. Expertise in melioidosis, leptospirosis and scrub typhus
- Christiane Dolecek. Expertise in AMR and enteric fever
In addition, the MORU Microbiology Department has an active, successful postgraduate student programme, currently with 12 PhD and 3 MSc students. In the past two years, 2 PhD and 1 MSc graduated. If you’re interested in doing a postgraduate degree with us, have a look at our Students page. Then, contact one of our principal investigators for a potential supervisor or Prof Stuart Blacksell, Post-Graduate Student Coordinator.
The Department continuously conducts training at its various laboratories in clinical microbiology, molecular biology, cell biology, and laboratory safety.
In 2018, Microbiology set up a sequencing unit in Bangkok with short-read Illumina MiSeq sequencing and bioinformatics analysis capacity.