The Institute for Medical Research (IMR) was established by the British in 1900 as the Pathological Institute in Kuala Lumpur, with the aim to promote the health status of the local population and “to explore the great and unknown field of tropical medicine”.

The IMR has since expanded her role and made significant contributions to biomedical research and other medical disciplines. The research efforts of the IMR have contributed significantly to the knowledge, understanding, treatment and control of some major tropical diseases in the country and region including beri-beri, malaria, cholera, typhoid, smallpox, leprosy, tuberculosis, filariasis, dengue, scrub typhus and nutrient deficiencies.

Today, the main functions of the IMR are research, specialised diagnostic services, training and technical consultancies. The functions and responsibilities of the IMR are discharged through her nine centres.


The IMR is the biomedical research arm of the Ministry of Health, Malaysia. Research programmes of the Institute are aligned with the health research priority areas and health needs of the country. The IMR undertakes research to advance scientific knowledge and understanding as well as to provide evidences for informed decision making and formulation of effective preventive and control programs and activities. Research is also carried out with the purpose of developing enabling technologies or products and identifying new biomarkers for use in the early detection and diagnosis of disease, monitoring of disease progression and targeted therapy.

Specialised Diagnostic Services

The IMR supports the pathology service of the country through continuous improvement of test methods or development of new methods through research & development. On the average, IMR carries out about 300,000 specialised diagnostic tests every year. IMR is the only centre in the country that is offering biochemical genetic testing for Inborn Error of Metabolism (IEM), molecular diagnostics for genetic diseases and detection of trace elements and heavy metals in biological fluids. The laboratories in IMR also serve as National Reference Centres for Transplantation, Allergy Diagnosis, Primary Immunodeficiencies, molecular diagnosis of leukaemias, multiple myelomas and confirmatory diagnosis of infectious diseases.

Courses and Training

The IMR offers several regular scientific and technical training programmes as well as ad hoc training programmes and attachments for a wide variety of disciplines in biomedical research to local and foreign participants. The IMR conducts two internationally recognised post-graduate diploma courses namely the Diploma in Applied Parasitology & Entomology (DAP&E) and the Diploma in Medical Microbiology (DMM) under the auspices of the SEAMEO-TROPMED Network. Sponsors for these courses include the Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme, the World Health Organization, the South-East Asia Ministers of Education Organization, the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, Wellcome Trust, the South Pacific Commission and national governments. The IMR has trained more than nine hundred students from fifty-six countries.

Consultative Services

IMR Staff provide advisory and consultative services to the Ministry of Health Malaysia, other government departments as well as international organizations. Most Units of the Institute also serve as referral centres to MOH laboratories throughout the country.

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Established since 1960Year of Establishment
Aras 3, Blok C6, Kompleks Institut Kesihatan Negara, No. 1, Jalan Setia Murni U13/52, Seksyen U13, Bandar Setia Alam, 40170 Shah Alam, SelangoAddress
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