Training Programme in Molecular Biology and Immunology of Leprosy

Schieffelin Institute of Health - Research and Leprosy Centre(SIH-R & LC) located near Vellore  in Tamilnadu, was established in 1955 to care for the leprosy patients in and around Vellore and to set up a research institution to probe into the multifaceted problems of leprosy. Dr. Robert Cochrane was the moving force behind this venture. Over the past decades SIH-R & LC has grown into a centre of excellence as tertiary care centre for leprosy services, International Leprosy training centre and a State of the art leprosy research Centre.

Molecular Biology Laboratory was started in the year 1999 to perform basic science research in leprosy in order to understand the genomic and molecular constituents of Mycobacterium leprae and to utilize the knowledge to identify effective diagnostic, prophylactic and therapeutic measures to combat leprosy. Various studies have been pursued in collaboration with “The American Leprosy Missions (ALM) USA”, “Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI – Seattle, Washington, USA)” and “The Leprosy Mission Trust India”. Apart from the regular research grants from SIH-R & LC, the laboratory was extramurally funded by ALM, TLM, IDRI, National Institute of Health (NIH, Maryland, USA) and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR, New Delhi, India). The laboratory has state of art facilities for Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) based gene amplification and detection systems for mycobacterial genome analysis, chemiluminescence assays, enzyme linked immunosorbent assays, T cell culture systems, microbial culture facility, fully equipped animal house facility for mice as a model for experiments with facilities for irradiation and thymectomy. A central library facility is available to access various books and scientific journals. The lab is facilitated with computers which are connected with high speed WIFI internet.

The laboratory has worked broadly in the areas of:

  1. Identifying molecular markers for early diagnosis of leprosy.
  2. Effectiveness of alternative drug regimens for treating drug resistance in leprosy.
  3. Insitu cytokine mRNA expression profiling during early stages of M. leprae infection.
  4. Molecular Epidemiology studies on nasal carriage and mucosal immunity.
  5. Variable Number Tandem Repeat Analysis of Mycobacterium leprae genome to understand molecular basis for the variance in strain types.
  6. Environmental Mycobacterium leprae.
  7. Immunological Studies on Type I and Type II Reactions in leprosy.

Being a DSIR (Department of Scientific and Industrial Research – Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India) recognized research laboratory, the unit undertakes training programs and student projects in Molecular Biology and Immunology aspects of leprosy apart from the regular research projects.

The details of the programs are as follows:

  1. Short-term Training Programme & Projects -

Duration:  2 - 3 Months (Maximum Period)

 Training Modules:

  1. Basics of Molecular Biology and Immunology in the context of leprosy.
  2. PCR based amplification of Human and M. leprae specific gene targets and detection through Agarose gel electrophoresis.
  3. ELISA and chemiluminescence assays for detection of specific immune markers
  4. Western and Northern Blotting.          
  5. Research Methodology and Data Analysis.    

            Fee:  INR 6,000/- (For the entire training program)

             Eligibility: Students who are currently pursuing

  • B.Sc in Life Sciences.
  • M.Sc. in Life Sciences.
  • B.Tech Biotechnology
  • Integrated M. Sc in Life Sciences.

 Food & Accommodation: In the Guest House: As per the standard Guest house tariffs. (Kindly Contact Mrs. Daya at the Guest House No: +91 0416 2274227 Extn: 2500 for the tariffs.)                                                        

                                                            In the Students Hostel: (Negotiable)

                                                            Rs.50/- Per day for Accommodation

                                                            Rs. 100-120/- Per day for Food.

  1. Dissertation Projects –

Duration:  6 Months – 1 Year (Maximum Period)

Project Description:

A research project will be assigned to the students which need to be accomplished in a period of 6 months – 1 year as per the requirements of the college/university where the student is enrolled on a full time basis. Admission of students in this category is subjected to their full time enrollment in a college/university and their curriculum

comprises a full time dissertation project*. The projects will be in thematic areas of current Molecular Biology & Immunology aspects of Leprosy.

Fee: Rs. 15,000/- (For the entire project)

Eligibility:Sdents who are currently pursuing

  • M.Sc. in Life Sciences.
  • B.Tech Biotechnology
  • Integrated M. Sc in Life Sciences.