The Department of Microbiology started as an independent facility in the Department of Physiology in 1944, but now has more than 100 members on its roll. Although its role is primarily diagnostic and teaching, the department has made some significant impact in the field of research, both at the national and international level.

With 30 years of research on streptococci, the laboratory soon became a reference laboratory for streptococci.

The department is known for it work on enteric infections, and in particular with Salmonella typhi and more subsequently with H influenzae and S pneumoniae. A molecular biology facility has been set up to through funds from USAID to study these two organisms. Original work on V. Cholerae 0139 as a new agent of cholera in India was first described in this laboratory. Drug resistance among various pathogenic bacteria, especially Esch.coli and Salmonella typi have both attracted wide national and international interest and changed presrcribing practices.

The department coordinates a national external quality assurance program under the auspices of the Indian Association of Medical Microbiologists. This effort has attracted the voluntary participation of about 170 institutions from all over India, and completes ten years of existence. Current research interest include tuberculosis, pneumococcal and H.influenzae infections, anthrax, antimicrobial resistance monitoring, drug restance in typhoid, rickettsial infections, Burkholderia pseudomallei ELISA development.