The Microbiology and Molecular Biology Department pioneered the collaborative studies of erstwhile RMRC (now NITM) Belagavi with the State Health authorities and Medica Colleges across the region and its activities helped transformation from Regional Centre of ICMR to the stature of a National Institute. It began with outbreak investigations, support to the Medical Colleges and Heath Surveillance Units across various Districts of Karnataka in identification and characterization of various etiological agents and played a major role in capacity building. Later it carried out several National level studies by networking with other ICMR institutes. NITM’s Microbiology Laboratory was the first in North Karnataka to start testing for COVID-19 and it provided the initial training and hand-holding to various other State and Academic Institutions in the region for RT-PCR testing.
In Traditional Medicines, the Department contributed to the overall activities of the Institute in molecular profiling of medicinally important plants that include generation of genetic fingerprints, identification of elite clones for production of bioactive, deciphering molecular mechanisms of action and devising genetic tools for correct identification/ differentiation of important species. The Molecular Biology laboratory started working on integrating Traditional Medicine with Modern Big-Data biology and Information Sciences by starting the Biomedical Informatics Centre which has focus on Herbal Informatics. This discipline provided hints on possible roles of phytocompounds in disease biology and helped design new therapies on one hand and helping in validation of traditional medicinal practices on the other. The domain of activities of the Department includes Microbiology and Molecular Biology of Infectious Diseases, Herbal Anti-Microbials, Molecular Mechanisms and assays, Cell Culture and Biotechnology, authenticity and quality of genuine medicinal plants/ingredients in formulations, etc. It also works on nutraceuticals against various chronic and lifestyle diseases, vector borne diseases and viral infections.