Acarology Unit (formerly known as Division of Acarology) was first established towards the end of 1967 as part of the reorganization of the Division of Medical Zoology. The first Head of Acarology, Dr M. Nadchatram, focused on taxonomy, ecology, biology and distribution of acari (ticks, chiggers, mesostigmatid mites). A number of new species and new records of acari from both local and international collections were successfully described. Later in 1988, under the new stewardship of Dr Ho Tze Ming, the scope of research focused mainly on the biology, biodiversity, distribution and control of acari of medical importance, including on allergen-producing house dust mites.
The research scope involving acari biodiversity, dust mite control, otoacariasis, forensic acarology and tick-borne disease were later expanded and explored with the new lead of Dr Mariana Ahamad in 2012. Currently, the research focus is mainly on acari-borne diseases involving the detection of bacterial pathogens such as Spotted Fever Group Rickettsia (Rickettsia, Orientia), Borrelia, Anaplasma and Ehrlichia in ticks or chiggers. Simultaneously, the Acarology Unit is working on the development of point-of-care diagnostic assays which includes LAMP, Aptamer and a multiplex real-time PCR assay for disease surveillance and screening of pathogenic bacteria in ticks and their animal hosts. In 2019, the Acarology Unit was relocated from the heritage building in Jalan Pahang, Kuala Lumpur to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) complex in Setia Alam, Selangor. At present, the Unit is supported by 17 staffs comprising of research scientists, technicians and support staffs.
Institute for Medical Research,
National Institutes of Health,
40170 Shah Alam, Selangor
Tel: 603 33628975