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Rajendra Memorial Research Institute of Medical Sciences (RMRI), Agamkuan, Patna is one of the permanent Institutes of Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi an autonomous body of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India. The institute is located in the eastern part of the city Patna, i.e. Agamkuan (Goddess Sitla Temple), which is famous for the killing of 99 brothers of Samrat Ashoka, the great king of ancient India. The institute has an area of nine acre of land with research wing, administrative wing and residential quarters for the staff. Its main thrust is research in different aspects of Visceral Leishmaniasis like Clinical, Vector biology and control, Immunological, Biochemical, Molecular biology, Pathological, Parasitological and Social. The institute is named after the memory of the first president of Republic of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad. After the sad demise of Dr. Rajender Prasad due to chest disease in Bihar (India), it was thought to establish an institute in the memory of his name and at that time the major thrust area of research was on the chest diseases.

Dr. Rajendra Prasad was regarded as a proud son from the soil of this state, Bihar. All section and walk of people loved him because of the dynamic personality he possessed and his significant contributions towards freedom movement and the invaluable services to humanity in various capacities to the nation. Soon after the demise of the great national leader in the year 1962, some of the prominent citizens, of Bihar which included medical men, educationists, lawyers, social workers and others formulated an idea drafting a plan of a medical research Institute to be established as a memorial in his name and were subsequently registered under the Societies Act of 1861. Subsequently, the memorial to be erected known as “ Rajendra Memorial Research Society for Medical Sciences” was formed on July 2, 1963 and the formal inaugural ceremony for establishment of Rajendra Memorial Research Institute of Medical Sciences was made by late Jai Prakash Narayan on December 3, 1963 the birth day of Dr. Rajendra Prasad. The Institute started functioning primarily as a chest institute and the departments for the purpose created were as follow: i.e., Department of Clinical Medicine, Department of Pneumoconiosis, Department of Cardio Respiratory Physiology, Department of Radiology, Department of Pathology, Department of Microbiology, Department of Biochemistry, Department of Pharmacology & Drug Research. In addition, a small Library, Statistical Section, Photography and Workshop were also opened. At the first instance functioning of the outpatient and the clinical department was started. The institute started the research works on Pneumoconiosis and tropical eosinophilia as a tribute to the first president of India as well as the demand of this area at that time.

When Kala-azar broke out in an epidemic form in Bihar in 1977, investigations on the disease were started of the affected area by the scientists of the Institute and tests in the laboratory were planned. Workshop on Kala-azar sponsored by W.H.O. and the Institute was organized in 1982 in which several national and international scientists working in the field of the disease participated. Later on, an attempt was made on study of Nutrition and Infectious Diseases. The institute from April 1, 1981 became a part of the Indian Council of Medical Research under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India. Like other permanent institutes of the Indian Council of Medical Research, the scientific officers and other members of the staff were provided all the advantages of service. The past services, prior to take over of the Institute of the employees were taken into account for pension and gratuity as per Government of India rules. It started functioning as a Centre of Study and Research on Kala-azar and other Parasitological Diseases. The departments of the Institute were reorganized as follows: Division of Clinical Medicine, Division of Microbiology, Division of Pathology, Division of Immunology, Division of Epidemiology, Division of Entomology, Division of Biochemistry. The ancillary sections made, were Radiology, Statistics and Audiovisual.

Dr. A.B. Sen, an eminent scientist of the country, joined the Institute as the first full time Director in August 1986 under ICMR. The Indian Council of Medical Research bestowed full financial power and control of the administration of the institute that his predecessors did not have. Under his direction, the research activities of the Institute accelerated considerably and several measures were adopted to streamline the administration.

Dr. R. Prabhakar later joined as the Director of the institute from 1992 to 1994 with dual charge. He was also the Director of Tuberculosis Research Center, Madras.

Dr. S.K. Kar joined as Director in 1994 till 2000. During these tenures, the institute did several projects on Visceral Leishmaniasis and a WHO/TDR project on Malathion suspension for control strategy programme was successfully carried out.

Dr. S.K. Bhattacharya joined as Director in the year 2000, and the institute got a new dimension in research. The institute and scientists got international exposure under his guidance. The Clinical trial (Phase III) on Orally administered drug Miltefosine in children suffering from Visceral Leishmaniasis was successfully carried out for the first time in the institute under the aegis of WHO/TDR. Followed by this, a spate of clinical trials viz. phase IV miltefosine, Phase III and IV paromomycin, phase IIB sitamaquine, Combination therapies, dose-finding study of miltefosine in PKDL were undertaken. The departments were enriched with latest equipments i.e., fully automated random access clinical chemistry analyzer, semi automated auto analyzer, blood cell counter, ion selective analyzer, UV-spectrophotometer, flow cytometer, PCR equipment, etc. and uplifting of the Institute campus. to further upgrade the laboratories.

The present Director, Dr. P. Das joined this Institute on 5 May 2005. Apart from completion of ongoing trails, new clinical drug trials of amphomul, single dose ambisome and combination therapy of existing anti-leishmanial drugs etc. were successfully completed. The Institute is continuously striving for quality research on diagnostic, treatment and control aspects of kala-azar apart from high-end basic research on disease pathogenesis and mechanism. The Institute has contributed significantly in operational research providing effective tools for surveillance, diagnosis, treatment and vector control under national kala-azar elimination programme. Besides this, the institute is contributing significantly in research and service towards HIV/AIDS through ICTC, ART, ART Plus, OST clinic. The other components include MDR/XDR laboratory, virology centre. The Institute is now of international repute for research and coming up as a research on tropical diseases through inception of Samrat Ashoka Tropical Disease Research Centre.