Department of Bacteriology

Department of Bacteriology


The Clinical Bacteriology laboratory in the Department of Bacteriology, Medical Research
Institute (MRI), was known as the ‘Main lab’ – the pioneer unit of the ‘De Soyza Bacteriological
Institute’ at the inception in 1900. The laboratory served as the main laboratory for ‘General
Hospital, Colombo’, now the National Hospital of Sri Lanka.

Sir Aldo Castellani, an Italian pathologist and a microbiologist was the first director of the De
Soyza Bacteriological Institute who introduced various laboratory tests in bacteriology for the
first time in Sri Lanka. Some of the pioneering bacteriological tests introduced by him included
diagnosis of enteric fever and tuberculosis. In 1905, Sir Aldo Castellani discovered the causative
organism in Yaws.

Over the years, Bacteriology has grown in to a gigantic discipline that branched into many
important sub divisional laboratories; Clinical microbiology (main lab), Leptospira, Food and
Water microbiology, Anaerobic bacteriology, Enteric pathogens, Quality Control and Molecular
Biology in bacteriology

The consultants served in this Department
Sir Aldo Castellani, Dr. E. Schmid, Dr. Nitiyanandan, Dr. T. Velaudapillai, Dr. Palasuntheram,
Dr. R.S.B. Wickramasinghe, Dr. Maya Atapattu, Dr. Philomina Chandrasiri, Dr. Praneetha
Somaratne, Dr. K. Karunaratne and Dr. Kavan Cooray.

Journal of the Medical Research Institute – Inaugural volume October, 1985
Personal communication – Mr. L. Suraweera, (Former) Sup. MLT/MRI

The present Consultant Microbiologists serving in the Department of Bacteriology

Dr. Lilani Karunanayake MD (2010)

Clinical Microbiology & Molecular Biology,
Leptospirosis, Quality Control & Media Preparation

Dr. Sujatha Pathirage MD (2012)

Food & Water Microbiology,
Enteric & Anaerobic bacteriology
Written by Dr. Lilani Karunanayake

Scroll to Top