NATIONAL JALMA INSTITUTE FOR LEPROSY & OTHER MYCOBACTERIAL DISEASES, AGRA. The Institute has a major thrust on leprosy (40%), relevant areas of tuberculosis and other mycobacteriosis (40%), HIV (10%) and Filariasis etc (10%). During its existence as a research Institute under ICMR the scientists of the Institute have continued to contribute towards better understanding of disease process of leprosy by carrying out studies on nerve electrophysiology, pathology and immunopathology of disease process using immunological, molecular and electron microscopic tools. The other major focus was on developing technologies for diagnosis which includes development of probes and in-situ methods for improving the histological diagnosis. While efforts are continuing to maintain and further strengthen infrastructure for mouse foot pad studies, the focus of the Institute has moved to new generation molecular methods for detection of drug resistance. Various drug regimens designed and tried at the Institute have provided valuable information that will be relevant for improvement of medical treatment. Studies on tuberculosis focus on drug resistance, molecular epidemiology and some intervention strategies. Investigations on drug permeability and drug metabolism are providing newer information. Studies on surgical management of leprosy associated problems are aimed at prevention and correction of deformities as well as chronic problems like plantar ulcers. Development of molecular methods for investigating the epidemiology of tuberculosis, leprosy and other mycobacterial infections has made significant progress. Similarly research on drug resistance has common focus on tuberculosis and leprosy. These studies have led to development of newer molecular techniques.
Studies on host genetics continue to focus our new susceptibility genes. The Institute has established state-of-the-art BSL-3 Labs (one for Microbiology & Molecular Biology and other for Animal Studies), Microarray facility and DNA as well as protein sequencing, Proteomics facility, Flow cytometry etc. The activities of the Institute in the area of AIDS are moving towards addressing some important research questions like relationships between HIV & leprosy and HIV & tuberculosis. The Institute has established vibrant field programmes at Ghatampur as well as Agra. Epidemiological studies on protection, transmission dynamics and effect of various interventions are progressing well. Filariasis specially its relationship with Leprosy is also a recent focus of Institute. Field Unit at Ghatampur is growing into a Model Rural Health Research Unit. The Institute thus reflects excellence in various cutting edge areas right from laboratory to the end user in the field.
The institute has established its leadership in all important aspects of leprosy and mycobacterial research. The Institute is participating in and co-coordinating several multi-centric studies. It is serving as a National Repository for Mycobacteria and is a Reference centre for HIV screening. Not only has the Institute been rapidly progressing by establishing modern molecular and other laboratories like P3 and Micro array laboratories but has also been tirelessly helping in the transfer of technology to other users. The involvement in training (MD/MS/Ph.D./M.VSc & M.Sc & M.Sc. students/scientists/teachers) of vital manpower in modern techniques has been very substantial. Participation of several scientists as experts is also an indirect contribution of Institute in shaping up the research programmes of the country.
Srikant Prasad Tripathy